The functional characterization and comparison of two single CRD containing C-type lectins with novel and typical key motifs fromPortunus trituberculatus

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C-type lectins are a superfamily of Ca2+-dependent carbohydrate-recognition proteins, which play crucial roles in innate immunity including nonself-recognition and pathogen elimination. In the present study, two single-CRD containing C-type lectins were identified from swimming crab Portunus trituberculatus (designated as PtCTL-2 and PtCTL-3). The open reading frame (ORF) of PtCTL-2 encoded polypeptides of 485 amino acids with a signal peptide and a single carbohydrate-recognition domain (CRD), while PtCTL-3's ORF encoded polypeptides of 241 amino acids with a coiled-coil region and a single-CRD. The key motifs determining carbohydrate binding specificity in PtCTL-2 and PtCTL-3 were EPR (Glu-Pro-Arg) and QPD (Gln-Pro-Asp). EPR is a motif being identified for the first time, whereas QPD is a typical motif in C-type lectins. Different PAMPs binding features of the two recombinant proteins - PtCTL-2 (rPtCTL-2) and PtCTL-3 (rPtCTL-3) have been observed in our experiments. rPtCTL-2 could bind three pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) with relatively high affinity, including glucan, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and peptidoglycan (PGN), while rPtCTL-3 could barely bind any of them. However, rPtCTL-2 could bind seven kinds of microbes and rPtCTL-3 could bind six kinds in microbe binding assay. Moreover, rPtCTL-2 and rPtCTL-3 exhibited similar agglutination activity against Gram-positive bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria and fungi in agglutination assay. All these results illustrated that PtCTL-2 and PtCTL-3 could function as important pattern-recognition receptors (PRR) with broad nonself-recognition spectrum involved in immune defense against invaders. In addition, the results of carbohydrate binding specificity showed that PtCTL-2 with novel key motif had broad carbohydrate binding specificity, while PtCTL-3 with typical key motif possessed different carbohydrate binding specificity from the classical binding rule. Furthermore, PtCTL-2 and PtCTL-3 could also function as opsonin to enhance encapsulation of hemocytes against Ni-NTA beads.

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