Molecular characterization, expression and functional analysis of two Kazal-type serine protease inhibitors fromVenerupis philippinarum

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Kazal-type serine protease inhibitors (KSPIs) act as negative regulators in immune signaling pathway by controlling the extent of serine protease (SP) activities. In this study, the full-length cDNA of two KSPIs (designed as VpKSPI-1 and VpKSPI-2) were identified from Venerupis philippinarum by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) approaches. The open reading frame (ORF) of VpKSPI-1 and VpKSPI-2 was of 552 bp and 402 bp, encoding a polypeptide of 183 and 133 amino acids, respectively. The transcripts of VpKSPI-1 and VpKSPI-2 were ubiquitously expressed in all tissues tested with the highest expression level in hepatopancreas. After Vibrio anguillarum challenge, the relative mRNA expression of VpKSPI-1 and VpKSPI-2 in hepatopancreas was both up-regulated within 96 h. The recombinant VpKSPI-1 (rVpKSPI-1) displayed weak activities towards chymotrypsin, moderate inhibitory activity to trypsin, while rVpKSPI-2 showed significant inhibitory activities against chymotrypsin and trypsin. When the molar ratio of rVpKSPI-2 to chymotrypsin and trypsin reached 1:4 and 1:2, the protease activities could be almost entirely inhibited. All these results suggested that both VpKSPI-1 and VpKSPI-2 perhaps play a vital role in the innate immunity of V. philippinarum.

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