Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 61, Issue 11, pp 1257–1265 | Cite as

Structure and function of coagulogen, a clottable protein in horseshoe crabs

  • T. Osaki
  • S. Kawabata


Mammalian blood coagulation is based on the proteolytically induced polymerization of fibrinogens. Initially, fibrin monomers noncovalently interact with each other. The resulting homopolymers are further stabilized when the plasma transglutaminase (TGase) intermolecularly cross-links ε-(γ-glutamyl)lysine bonds. In crustaceans, hemolymph coagulation depends on the TGase-mediated cross-linking of specific plasma-clotting proteins, but without the proteolytic cascade. In horseshoe crabs, the proteolytic coagulation cascade triggered by lipopolysaccharides and b-1,3-glucans leads to the conversion of coagulogen into coagulin, resulting in noncovalent coagulin homopolymers through head-to-tail interaction. Horseshoe crab TGase, however, does not cross-link coagulins intermolecularly. Recently, we found that coagulins are cross-linked on hemocyte cell surface proteins called proxins. This indicates that a cross-linking reaction at the final stage of hemolymph coagulation is an important innate immune system of horseshoe crabs.

Hemolymph coagulogen horseshoe crab transglutaminase lipopolysaccharides 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser-Verlag Basel 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of SciencesKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan

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