Molecular features and the transcriptional and functional delineation of complement system activators C1r and C1s fromSebastes schlegelii
C1r and C1s are serine proteases responsible for activating the classical complement pathway to initiate the complement cascade, which plays a crucial role in eliminating invading pathogenic microbes. In this study, cDNA sequences of C1r and C1s were identified from black rockfish and designated as SsC1r and SsC1s, respectively. In both sequences, two CUB domains, an EGF-like domain, two CCP domains, and a trypsin-like serine protease domain were identified. Multiple sequence alignments with known vertebrate homologs demonstrated that both sequences were highly conserved and, especially, the catalytic and substrate binding residues were completely conserved. In the constructed phylogenetic tree, C1r and C1s formed two separate clusters, which further branched into groups of related organisms. SsC1r and SsC1s joined with their respective teleostean clusters. Transcriptional analysis showed that the highest mRNA expression level was in the liver under normal physiological conditions. Significantly upregulated expression of both mRNAs in spleen and liver after pathologic stress, by intraperitoneal injection with different stimuli, suggested their vital role in immunity. The serine protease domains of SsC1r and SsC1s were cloned and the recombinant proteins were expressed and purified. A protease assay, conducted to confirm their functionality, indicated that both recombinant proteins had proteolytic activity. Taken together, these results indicate that SsC1r and SsC1s have significant properties to aid in the immunity of black rockfish by activating the complement system by proteolytic cleavage.