MKK6 from pacific white shrimpLitopenaeus vannameiis responsive to bacterial and WSSV infection

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p38 mitogen-actived protein kinases (MAPKs) broadly exist from yeast to mammals and participate in diverse cellular responses to various stimuli, whose activation can be induced by the MAPK kinase 6 (MKK6). In this study, a novel MKK6 homolog from Litopenaeus vannamei (LvMKK6) was cloned and characterized. The transcript of LvMKK6 was 1465 bp long with an open reading frame (ORF) of 987 bp that encoded a polypeptide of 328 amino acids. LvMKK6 was a both cytoplasmic- and nuclear-localized protein and its expression was up-regulated with the treatment of different stimuli including LPS, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Staphylococcus aureus, Poly (I:C) and white spot syndrome virus (WSSV). Overexpression of LvMKK6 could lead to activate the promoter activities of several antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) such as PEN4. The further investigation demonstrated that LvMKK6 could interact with and phosphorylate Lvp38, suggesting LvMKK6 was an activator of Lvp38. Knockdown of LvMKK6 caused attenuate expression of several AMPs and resulted in the higher mortality of shrimp under V. parahaemolyticus infection, suggesting LvMKK6 could play vital roles in defense against bacterial infection. Interestingly, silencing of LvMKK6 led to the lower virus loads and suppressed viral gene (VP28) expression during WSSV challenge. In addition, overexpression of LvMKK6 promoted the promoter activities of 19 WSSV immediate-early genes such as wsv069, wsv249, wsv108 and wsv403. These results suggested that LvMKK6 could be used by WSSV. Above all, these data provided experimental evidences that participation of LvMKK6 in regulating AMPs and host defense against bacteria, as well as the immune response to WSSV infection.

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