Identification and characterization of two arasin-like peptides in red swamp crayfishProcambarus clarkii

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Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are small effectors in host defense by directly targeting microorganisms or by indirectly modulating immune responses. In the present study, two arasin like AMPs, named as Pc-arasin1 and Pc-arasin2, were identified in red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii with sequence similarity to the arasins found in Hyas araneus. Both Pc-arasins consisted of signal peptide, N-terminal proline-rich region and C-terminal region containing four conserved cysteine residues. The similarity of two Pc-arasins was 44.44%, and Pc-arasin2 contained several additional residues in the N-terminus. Multiple alignment of arasin family suggested the conservation of the C-terminus and the variation of the N-terminus of Pc-arasins. Both AMPs were found hemocytes-specific, and the expression could be induced the challenge of bacteria, espeacially by the pathogenic bacterium Aeromonas hydrophila. Knockdown of each Pc-arasin expression by double strand RNA would suppress the host immunity against A. hydrophila, and the commercially synthetic Pc-arasins could rescue the knockdown consequence. Both synthetic peptide showed broad antimicrobial activity towards 3 Gram-positive bacterium and 3 Gram-negative bacterium, and the minimal inhibitory concentrations varied from 6.25 μM to 50 μM. These results presented new data about the sequence, expression and function of arasin family, and emphasized the role of this family in host immune response against bacterial pathogens. The characterization of Pc-arasins also provided potential of therapeutic agent development for disease control in aquaculture based on these two newly identified AMPs.

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