Anopheles gambiae Ag-STAT, a new insect member of the STAT family, is activated in response to bacterial infection. (1/614)

A new insect member of the STAT family of transcription factors (Ag-STAT) has been cloned from the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. The domain involved in DNA interaction and the SH2 domain are well conserved. Ag-STAT is most similar to Drosophila D-STAT and to vertebrate STATs 5 and 6, constituting a proposed ancient class A of the STAT family. The mRNA is expressed at all developmental stages, and the protein is present in hemocytes, pericardial cells, midgut, skeletal muscle and fat body cells. There is no evidence of transcriptional activation following bacterial challenge. However, bacterial challenge results in nuclear translocation of Ag-STAT protein in fat body cells and induction of DNA-binding activity that recognizes a STAT target site. In vitro treatment with pervanadate (vanadate and H2O2) translocates Ag-STAT to the nucleus in midgut epithelial cells. This is the first evidence of direct participation of the STAT pathway in immune responses in insects.  (+info)

A cell-surface superoxide dismutase is a binding protein for peroxinectin, a cell-adhesive peroxidase in crayfish. (2/614)

Peroxinectin, a cell-adhesive peroxidase (homologous to human myeloperoxidase), from the crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus, was shown by immuno-fluorescence to bind to the surface of crayfish blood cells (haemocytes). In order to identify a cell surface receptor for peroxinectin, labelled peroxinectin was incubated with a blot of haemocyte membrane proteins. It was found to specifically bind two bands of 230 and 90 kDa; this binding was decreased in the presence of unlabelled peroxinectin. Purified 230/90 kDa complex also bound peroxinectin in the same assay. In addition, the 230 kDa band binds the crayfish beta-1,3-glucan-binding protein. The 230 kDa band could be reduced to 90 kDa, thus showing that the 230 kDa is a multimer of 90 kDa units. The peroxinectin-binding protein was cloned from a haemocyte cDNA library, using immuno-screening or polymerase chain reaction based on partial amino acid sequence of the purified protein. It has a signal sequence, a domain homologous to CuZn-containing superoxide dismutases, and a basic, proline-rich, C-terminal tail, but no membrane-spanning segment. In accordance, the 90 and 230 kDa bands had superoxide dismutase activity. Immuno-fluorescence of non-permeabilized haemocytes with affinity-purified antibodies confirmed that the crayfish CuZn-superoxide dismutase is localized at the cell surface; it could be released from the membrane with high salt. It was thus concluded that the peroxinectin-binding protein is an extracellular SOD (EC-SOD) and a peripheral membrane protein, presumably kept at the cell surface via ionic interaction with its C-terminal region. This interaction with a peroxidase seems to be a novel function for an SOD. The binding of the cell surface SOD to the cell-adhesive/opsonic peroxinectin may mediate, or regulate, cell adhesion and phagocytosis; it may also be important for efficient localized production of microbicidal substances.  (+info)

Acidification of the phagosome in Crassostrea virginica hemocytes following engulfment of zymosan. (3/614)

Phagocytic hemocytes are responsible for engulfing and internally degrading foreign organisms within the hemolymph and tissue of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. Since rapid acidification of the phagosome lumen is typically essential for activation of hydrolytic and reactive oxygen intermediate (ROI) producing enzymes in vertebrate cells, we measured phagosomal pH in oyster hemocytes by using the emission fluorescence of two fluorescent probes, rhodamine and Oregon Green 488 (OG 488), conjugated to zymosan to determine whether oyster hemocyte phagosomes become acidified after phagocytosis of zymosan. The average pH of 1079 phagosomes within 277 hemocytes 1 h after phagocytosis of zymosan was 3.9 +/- 0.03. Observations of 141 hemocytes with internalized zymosan by light microscopy revealed that, over a 60-min time period, 51% of highly granular hemocytes became partially granular, and 29% became agranular. In addition, 83% of partially granular hemocytes containing zymosan at time = 0 became agranular within 60 min. A comparison revealed that the phagosomes of agranular hemocytes were much more acidic (pH 3.1 +/- 0.02) than those of highly granular hemocytes (4.9 +/- 0.02; P < 0.05). These values are significantly lower than most reported in the literature for blood cells from metazoan organisms.  (+info)

Prophenoloxidase-activating enzyme of the silkworm, Bombyx mori. Purification, characterization, and cDNA cloning. (4/614)

Prophenoloxidase-activating enzyme (PPAE) was purified to homogeneity as judged by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis from larval cuticles of the silkworm, Bombyx mori. The purified PPAE preparation was shown to be a mixture of the isozymes of PPAE (PPAE-I and PPAE-II), which were eluted at different retention times in reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography. PPAE-I and PPAE-II seemed to be post translationally modified isozymes and/or allelic variants. Both PPAE isozymes were proteins composed of two polypeptides (heavy and light chains) that are linked by disulfide linkage(s) and glycosylated serine proteases. The results of cDNA cloning, peptide mapping, and amino acid sequencing of PPAE revealed that PPAE is synthesized as prepro-PPAE with 441 amino acid residues and is activated from pro-PPAE by cleavage of a peptide bond between Lys152 and Ile153. The homology search showed 36.9% identity of PPAE to easter, which is a serine protease involved in dorso-ventral pattern formation in the Drosophila embryo, and indicated the presence of two consecutive clip-like domains in the light chain. A single copy of the PPAE gene was suggested to be present in the silkworm genome. In the fifth instar larvae, PPAE transcripts were detected in the integument, hemocytes, and salivary glands but not in the fat body or mid gut. A polypeptide cross-reactive to mono-specific anti-PPAE/IgG was transiently detected in the extract of eggs between 1 and 3 h after they were laid.  (+info)

A unique primary structure, cDNA cloning and function of a galactose-specific lectin from ascidian plasma. (5/614)

The complete amino acid sequence of a galactose-specific lectin from the plasma of the ascidian Halocynthia roretzi has been determined by sequential Edman degradation analysis of peptide fragments derived by proteolytic fragmentation and chemical cleavage of the reductive S-pyridylethylated lectin. Peptide fragments were separated by reverse-phase HPLC. The N-terminal and C-terminal amino acid sequences were determined by Edman degradation and enzymatic digestion. The H. roretzi plasma lectin is a single-chain protein consisting of 327 amino acids and four disulfide bonds, one of which was found to be cross-linked intramolecularly. A comparison of the amino acid sequence of the H. roretzi plasma lectin with the sequences of other proteins reveals that the H. roretzi lectin has a structure consisting of a twice-repeated sequence, a fibrinogen-related sequence and a C-type lectin-homologous sequence. The above amino acid sequence was verified by cDNA cloning of this lectin. Three cDNA clones that have single ORFs encoding the lectin precursor were isolated from an H. roretzi hepatopancreas cDNA library. The deduced amino acid sequences in the three cDNA clones contain the same sequence of the mature lectin molecule and the same putative signal sequence. In addition, it was demonstrated that this lectin can enhance phagocytosis by H. roretzi hemocytes. Thus, the plasma lectin is constructed into an oligomer structure via intermolecular disulfide bonds and plays a role in the biological defense of H. roretzi as a defense molecule.  (+info)

A hemocyte-like cell line established from the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae expresses six prophenoloxidase genes. (6/614)

Cell lines from the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae have been established as a tool for the study of the mosquito innate immune system in vitro. Here, we describe the first continuous insect cell line that produces prophenoloxidase (PPO). This cell line (4a-3B) expresses constitutively six PPO genes, three of which are novel (PPO4, PPO5, and PPO6). The PPO genes show distinct temporal expression profiles in the intact mosquito, spanning stages from the embryo to the adult in an overlapping manner. Transient induction of larva-specific PPO genes in blood-fed adult females suggests that the developmental hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone may be involved in PPO gene regulation. Indeed, exposure of 4a-3B cells to 20-hydroxyecdysone in culture results in induction of those PPO genes that are mainly expressed in early developmental stages, and repression of PPO5, which is preferentially expressed at the adult stage. The cell line shows bacteria-induced immune transcripts that encode defensin and Gram-negative bacteria-binding protein, but no induction of PPO transcripts. This cell line most likely derives from a hemocyte lineage, and represents an appropriate in vitro model for the study of the humoral and cellular immune defenses of A. gambiae.  (+info)

Tachylectin-2: crystal structure of a specific GlcNAc/GalNAc-binding lectin involved in the innate immunity host defense of the Japanese horseshoe crab Tachypleus tridentatus. (7/614)

Tachylectin-2, isolated from large granules of the hemocytes of the Japanese horseshoe crab (Tachypleus tridentatus), is a 236 amino acid protein belonging to the lectins. It binds specifically to N-acetylglucosamine and N-acetylgalactosamine and is a part of the innate immunity host defense system of the horseshoe crab. The X-ray structure of tachylectin-2 was solved at 2.0 A resolution by the multiple isomorphous replacement method and this molecular model was employed to solve the X-ray structure of the complex with N-acetylglucosamine. Tachylectin-2 is the first protein displaying a five-bladed beta-propeller structure. Five four-stranded antiparallel beta-sheets of W-like topology are arranged around a central water-filled tunnel, with the water molecules arranged as a pentagonal dodecahedron. Tachylectin-2 exhibits five virtually identical binding sites, one in each beta-sheet. The binding sites are located between adjacent beta-sheets and are made by a large loop between the outermost strands of the beta-sheets and the connecting segment from the previous beta-sheet. The high number of five binding sites within the single polypeptide chain strongly suggests the recognition of carbohydrate surface structures of pathogens with a fairly high ligand density. Thus, tachylectin-2 employs strict specificity for certain N-acetyl sugars as well as the surface ligand density for self/non-self recognition.  (+info)

Factors influencing in vitro killing of bacteria by hemocytes of the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica). (8/614)

A tetrazolium dye reduction assay was used to study factors governing the killing of bacteria by oyster hemocytes. In vitro tests were performed on bacterial strains by using hemocytes from oysters collected from the same location in winter and summer. Vibrio parahaemolyticus strains, altered in motility or colonial morphology (opaque and translucent), and Listeria monocytogenes mutants lacking catalase, superoxide dismutase, hemolysin, and phospholipase activities were examined in winter and summer. Vibrio vulnificus strains, opaque and translucent (with and without capsules), were examined only in summer. Among V. parahaemolyticus and L. monocytogenes, significantly (P < 0.05) higher levels of killing by hemocytes were observed in summer than in winter. L. monocytogenes was more resistant than V. parahaemolyticus or V. vulnificus to the bactericidal activity of hemocytes. In winter, both translucent strains of V. parahaemolyticus showed significantly (P < 0.05) higher susceptibility to killing by hemocytes than did the wild-type opaque strain. In summer, only one of the V. parahaemolyticus translucent strains showed significantly (P < 0.05) higher susceptibility to killing by hemocytes than did the wild-type opaque strain. No significant differences (P > 0.05) in killing by hemocytes were observed between opaque (encapsulated) and translucent (nonencapsulated) pairs of V. vulnificus. Activities of 19 hydrolytic enzymes were measured in oyster hemolymph collected in winter and summer. Only one enzyme, esterase (C4), showed a seasonal difference in activity (higher in winter than in summer). These results suggest that differences existed between bacterial genera in their ability to evade killing by oyster hemocytes, that a trait(s) associated with the opaque phenotype may have enabled V. parahaemolyticus to evade killing by the oyster's cellular defense, and that bactericidal activity of hemocytes was greater in summer than in winter.  (+info)