Characterization of a double WAP domain-containing protein from the red swamp crayfishProcambarus clarkii

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Crustaceans express multiple whey acidic protein (WAP) domain containing proteins which are components of host immunity. In the present study, a new double WAP domain containing protein was identified from red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii, designated Pc-DWD. The ORF is 387 bp, encoding 128 amino acids consisting of signal peptide of 18 residues, and two tandem WAP domains of 38 and 44 residues. Multiple alignment indicates the presence of conserved motifs in both WAP domains, and phylogenetic analysis shows that Pc-DWD is a new member of the type-IV crustin family. Pc-DWD transcripts were found most abundantly in hemocytes, gills, intestine and heart, and induced by Vibrio anguillarum, Staphylococcus aureus and white spot syndrome virus challenge. RNAi knockdown of Pc-DWD expression led to increased expression of white spot syndrome virus genes and increased crayfish mortality after virus infection. Recombinant Pc-DWD exhibited strong protease inhibitory activity towards commercial subtilicin A and protease K. Pc-DWD inhibited the crude proteases from V. anguillarum and S. aureus cultures and from the crayfish tissue extracts. We infer that Pc-DWD acts in crayfish bacterial and viral immunity.

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