Isolation of an invertebrate-type lysozyme from the nephridia of the echiura,Urechis unicinctus, and its recombinant production and activities

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Invertebrates, unlike vertebrates which have adaptive immune system, rely heavily on the innate immune system for the defense against pathogenic bacteria. Lysozymes, along with other immune effectors, are regarded as an important group in this defense. An invertebrate-type (i-type) lysozyme, designated Urechis unicinctus invertebrate-type lysozyme, Uu-ilys, has been isolated from nephridia of Urechis unicinctus using a series of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and ultrasensitive radial diffusion assay (URDA) as a bioassay system. Analyses of the primary structure and cDNA cloning revealed that Uu-ilys was approximately 14kDa and composed of 122 amino acids (AAs) of which the precursor had a total of 160 AAs containing a signal peptide of 18 AAs and a pro-sequence of 20 AAs encoded by the nucleotide sequence of 714 bp that comprises a 5′ untranslated region (UTR) of 42 bp, an open reading frame (ORF) of 483 bp, and a 3′ UTR of 189 bp. Multiple sequence alignment showed Uu-ilys has high homology to i-type lysozymes from several annelids. Relatively high transcriptional expression levels of Uu-ilys was detected in nephridia, anal vesicle, and intestine. The native Uu-ilys exhibited comparable lysozyme enzymatic and antibacterial activities to hen egg white lysozyme. Collectively, these data suggest that Uu-ilys, the isolated antibacterial protein, plays a role in the immune defense mechanism of U. unicinctus. Recombinant Uu-ilys (rUu-ilys) produced in a bacterial expression system showed significantly decreased lysozyme lytic activity from that of the native while its potency on radial diffusion assay detecting antibacterial activity was retained, which may indicate the non-enzymatic antibacterial capacity of Uu-ilys.HIGHLIGHTSAn invertebrate-type lysozyme, Uu-ilys, was isolated from nephridia of a marine annelid, Urechis unicinctus.Uu-ilys exhibited muramidase and antibacterial activities that was comparable to activities of hen egg white lysozyme.Uu-ilys is involved in the immune defense in nephridia of U. unicinctus.Recombinant Uu-ilys exerted antibacterial activity by non-enzymatic antibacterial mechanism.

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