Molecular characterization and immune analysis of a defensin from small abalone, Haliotis diversicolor.


Key Laboratory of South China Sea Fishery Resources Exploitation & Utilization, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, South China Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Guangzhou Guangdong 510300, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]


As one of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), defensins are involved in invertebrate innate immunity against invading pathogens. In this study, a member of the invertebrate defensins was cloned and characterized from the small abalone Haliotis diversicolor, designated HdDef-2. The HdDef-2 cDNA contained a 201 bp open reading frame encoding 66 amino acids including a signal peptide of 18 amino acids and a mature peptide of 48 amino acids. The mature peptide of HdDef-2 possessed similar features to other AMPs, such as lower molecular mass, net positive charge (+1), and a high hydrophobic residue ratio (45%). In addition, six cysteines in the mature peptide were arranged in the pattern C-X16-C-X3-C-X9-C-X4-C-X1-C and stabilized the α-helix/β-sheet motif (CSαβ) with three disulfide bonds (C1-C4, C2-C5 and C3-C6) in the predicted tertiary structure. Moreover, the similar three-dimensional structure to Anopheles gambiae defensin and a phylogenetic analysis suggest that HdDef-2 may be a new member of the arthropod defensin family. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis revealed that HdDef-2 transcripts were constitutively expressed in the mantle, gill, hepatopancreas, and foot, with the highest level in the hepatopancreas. It was observed that HdDef-2 transcripts were significantly induced in the hepatopancreas after infection by Vibrio harveyi. These results indicate that HdDef-2 may be involved in the immune response against invading pathogenic bacteria, but future work is needed to verify its antimicrobial activity in protein level and elucidate the underlying mechanisms.


Defensin-2,Gene cloning,Haliotis diversicolor,Immune challenge,Tissue distribution,

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