Identification and characterization of the lamprey cathepsin genes
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Cathepsins are key mammalian proteases that play an important role in the immune response. Several studies have revealed the versatile and critical functions of cathepsins. Here, we obtained ten kinds of cathepsin homologs and identified seven homologs with complete coding sequences. Phylogenetic analysis verified their identities and supported the classification of cathepsins into seven families, which is similar to other vertebrates. Tissue-specific expression analysis showed that all lamprey cathepsins (L-cathepsins) are present in the supraneural body (SB), kidney, gill, intestine, brain, heart, and liver, but their relative abundance varied among tissues. Additionally, we focused on the lamprey cathepsin L (L-cathepsin L) and used recombinant L-cathepsin L protein (rL-cathepsin L) to prepare anti rL-cathepsin L polyclonal antibodies, which were used to detect its distribution in lamprey tissues. The L-cathepsin L protein was primarily detected in the SB, kidney, gill, intestine, brain, and liver via western blot and immunohistochemistry assays. Importantly, quantitative real-time PCR (RT-PCR) revealed that the expression level of L-cathepsins mRNA significantly increased after exposure to three different stimuli (poly I:C, Staphylococcus aureus (S.a) and Vibro anguilarum (V.an)). This suggested that L-cathepsins may participate in defense processes. These results revealed that L-cathepsins may play key roles in the immune response to exogenous stimuli. The findings provide important information for future studies aiming to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the immune response to pathogen invasion in lamprey.
KeywordsLamprey Cathepsins Evolution Immune
This work was funded by the Chinese Major State Basic Research Development Program (973 Program; Grant2013CB835304), the Marine Public Welfare Project of the State Oceanic Administration (No.201305016), Chinese National Natural Science Foundation Grants (No. 31170353, No. 31202020, No. 31772884, and No. 31801973), Science and Technology Innovation Fund Research Project (No. 2018J12SN079), and the project of Department of Ocean and Fisheries of Liaoning Province (No. 201805).
Compliance with ethical standards
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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