Clotting protein – An extracellular matrix (ECM) protein involved in crustacean hematopoiesis

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Hematopoietic progenitor cells in crustaceans are organized in lobule-like structures surrounded by different types of cells and extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins in a Hematopoietic tissue (HPT). Here we show that the clotting protein (CP) is part of the ECM in HPT and is secreted during HPT cell culture. The formation of a filamentous network of CP was observed in HPT cell culture. A high amount of CP protein was detected at the surfaces of undifferentiated cells (round-shaped) compared with migrating cells (spindle shaped). Co-localization of the CP protein and TGase activity was observed on the cell surface and filamentous network between cells. A role for CP together with collagen was revealed in a 3D culture in which a collagen-I matrix was immobilized with CP or supplemented with CP. The results showed possible functions of CP, collagen, TGase and the cytokine Ast1 in the regulation of HPT progenitor cell behavior. This is the first study to provide insight into the role of CP, which probably not only participates in clot formation but also functions as an ECM component protein controlling hematopoietic stem cell behavior.

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