A novel C-type lectin from the sea cucumberApostichopus japonicus(AjCTL-2) with preferential binding of d-galactose

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C-type lectins (CTLs) are Ca2+ dependent carbohydrate-binding proteins that share structural homology in their carbohydrate-recognition domains (CRDs). In the present study, a novel CTL was identified from sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus (named as AjCTL-2). The deduced amino acid sequence of AjCTL-2 was homologous to CTLs from other animals with the identities ranging from 33% to 40%. It contained a canonical signal peptide at the N-terminus, a low density lipoprotein receptor class A (LDLa), a C1r/C1s/Uegf/bone morphogenetic protein 1 (CUB), and a CRD with two motifs Glu-Pro-Asn (EPN) and Trp-Asn-Asp (WND) in Ca2+ binding site 2. The mRNA transcripts of AjCTL-2 were extensively expressed in all the tested tissues including respiratory tree, muscle, gut, coelomocyte, tube-foot, body wall and gonad, and the highest expression level of AjCTL-2 in coelomocyte was about 4.2-fold (p<0.05) of that in body wall. The mRNA expression level of AjCTL-2 in coelomocyte increased significantly after Vibrio splendidus stimulation, and dramatically peaked at 12h, which was 206.4-fold (p<0.05) of that in control group. AjCTL-2 protein was mainly detected in cytoplasm of coelomocyte by immunofluorescence. The recombinant AjCTL-2 (rAjCTL-2) displayed binding activity to d-galactose independent of Ca2+, while the binding activity to other tested pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) including lipopolysaccharide (LPS), peptidoglycan (PGN), and mannose (Man) could not be detected. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) analysis further revealed the high binding specificity and moderate binding affinity of rAjCTL-2 to d-galactose (KD=4.093×10−6M). After rAjCTL-2 was blocked by its polyclonal antibody, the binding activity to d-galactose could not be detected by using a blocking ELISA (B-ELISA). Moreover, rAjCTL-2 could bind various microorganisms including V. splendidus, V. anguillarum, Staphylococcus aureus, Bifidobacterium breve and Yarrowia lipolytica with the strongest binding activity to B. breve. These results collectively suggested that AjCTL-2 was a member of CTL superfamily (CTLs) with preferential binding of d-galactose and participated in the immune response of sea cucumber.

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