PloS one

Shrimp serine proteinase homologues PmMasSPH-1 and -2 play a role in the activation of the prophenoloxidase system.

PMID 25803442


Melanization mediated by the prophenoloxidase (proPO) activating system is a rapid immune response used by invertebrates against intruding pathogens. Several masquerade-like and serine proteinase homologues (SPHs) have been demonstrated to play an essential role in proPO activation in insects and crustaceans. In a previous study, we characterized the masquerade-like SPH, PmMasSPH1, in the black tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon as a multifunctional immune protein based on its recognition and antimicrobial activity against the Gram-negative bacteria Vibrio harveyi. In the present study, we identify a novel SPH, known as PmMasSPH2, composed of an N-terminal clip domain and a C-terminal SP-like domain that share high similarity to those of other insect and crustacean SPHs. We demonstrate that gene silencing of PmMasSPH1 and PmMasSPH2 significantly reduces PO activity, resulting in a high number of V. harveyi in the hemolymph. Interestingly, knockdown of PmMasSPH1 suppressed not only its gene transcript but also other immune-related genes in the proPO system (e.g., PmPPAE2) and antimicrobial peptides (e.g., PenmonPEN3, PenmonPEN5, crustinPm1 and Crus-likePm). The PmMasSPH1 and PmMasSPH2 also show binding activity to peptidoglycan (PGN) of Gram-positive bacteria. Using a yeast two-hybrid analysis and co-immunoprecipitation, we demonstrate that PmMasSPH1 specifically interacted with the final proteinase of the proPO cascade, PmPPAE2. Furthermore, the presence of both PmMasSPH1 and PmPPAE2 enhances PGN-induced PO activity in vitro. Taken together, these results suggest the importance of PmMasSPHs in the activation of the shrimp proPO system.