Molecular and functional analyses of novel anti-lipopolysaccharide factors in giant river prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii, De Man) and their expression responses under pathogen and temperature exposure

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Anti-lipopolysaccharide factor (ALF) is an immune-related protein that is crucially involved in immune defense mechanisms against invading pathogens in crustaceans. In the current study, three different ALFs of giant river prawn (Mr-ALF3, Mr-ALF8 and Mr-ALF9) were discovered. Based on sequence analysis, Mr-ALF3 and Mr-ALF9 were identified as new members of ALFs in crustaceans (groups F and G, respectively). Structurally, each newly identified Mr-ALF contained three α-helices packed against a four-stranded β-sheet bearing the LPS-binding motif, which usually binds to the cell wall components of bacteria. Tissue expression analysis using quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) demonstrated that Mr-ALF3 was expressed in most tissues, and the highest expression was in the heart and hemocytes. The Mr-ALF8 gene was highly expressed in the heart, hemocytes, midgut, hepatopacreas and hindgut, respectively, while the Mr-ALF9 gene was modestly expressed in the heart and hemocytes, respectively. The transcriptional responses of the Mr-ALFs to Aeromonas hydrophila and hot/cold temperatures were investigated by qRT-PCR in the gills, hepatopancreas and hemocytes. We found that all Mr-ALFs were clearly suppressed in all tested tissues when the experimental prawns were exposed to extreme temperatures (25 and 35 °C). Moreover, the expression levels of these genes were significantly induced in all examined tissues by 2 different concentrations of A. hydrophila (1 × 106 and 1 × 109 CFU/ml), particularly 12 and 96 h after the injection. Finally, binding activity analysis of LPS-motif peptides of each Mr-ALF revealed that the LPS peptide of Mr-ALF3 exhibited the strongest adhesion to two pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria, A. hydrophila and Vibrio harveyi, and the non-pathogenic Gram-positive Bacillus megaterium. The results also showed that the Mr-ALF8 and Mr-ALF9 peptides had mild antimicrobial effects against similar tested bacteria. Based on information obtained in this study, novel ALF genes were clearly identified. Analyses of their responses under pathogenic and temperature stresses demonstrated the binding and antimicrobial activities of these ALFs and the consequent physiological effects, indicating their crucial functional roles in the prawn immune system.HighlightsThree novel cDNAs of anti-lipopolysaccharide factors in giant river prawn (Mr-ALF3, 8, 9) were cloned and charaterized.Structure of all Mr-ALF proteins clearly showed α-helices packed against a four β-sheet bearing the LPS binding motif.qRT-PCR analysis of Mr-ALFs in response to A. hydrophila in the gills, hepatopancreas and hemocytes was demonstrated.Expression levels of Mr-ALFs were obviously suppressed in all tested tissues after heat or cold shock induction.LPS-binding peptides of Mr-ALFs clearly bound and inhibited both Gram-positive and negative bacteria.

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