Identification, characterization, and function analysis of the NF-κB repressing factor (NKRF) gene fromLitopenaeus vannamei

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The NF-κB family transcription factors regulate a wide spectrum of biological processes, in particular immune responses. The studies in human suggest that the NF-κB repressing factor (NKRF) negatively regulates the activity of NF-κB through a direct protein–protein interaction. However, the function of NKRF has not been studied outside mammals up to now. The current study identified a NKRF gene (LvNKRF) from the Pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei, which showed homology with NKRFs from insects, fishes and mammals. LvNKRF was high expressed in intestine, stomach and muscle tissues and was localized in the nucleus. LvNKRF could interact with both Dorsal and Relish, the two members of the shrimp NF-κB family. Interestingly, although sharing a similar protein structure with that of human NKRF, LvNKRF showed no inhibitory but instead enhancing effects on activities of Dorsal and Relish, which was contrary to those of mammalian NKRFs. The expression of LvNKRF could not be induced by Gram-positive and -negative bacteria and immunostimulants lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and poly (I:C) but was significantly up-regulated after white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) infection. Silencing of LvNKRF significantly decreased the mortalities of shrimp caused by WSSV infection and down-regulated the WSSV copies and the expression of WSSV structural gene in tissues. These suggested that LvNKRF could facilitate the infection of shrimp by WSSV, which may be an additional strategy for WSSV to hijack the host NF-κB pathway to favor its own replication. The current study could provide a valuable context for further investigating the evolutionary derivation of NKRFs and facilitate the study of regulatory mechanisms of invertebrate NF-κB pathways.

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