Fish & shellfish immunology

The first echinoderm poly-U-binding factor 60 kDa (PUF60) from sea cucumber (Stichopus monotuberculatus): Molecular characterization, inducible expression and involvement of apoptosis.

PMID 26362209


Poly-U-binding factor 60 kDa (PUF60), also known as Ro RNA binding protein (RoBPI) and FBP interacting repressor (FIR), is a multifunctional protein that is involved in a variety of nuclear processes including pre-mRNA splicing, apoptosis and transcription regulation. In this study, the first echinoderm PUF60 named StmPUF60 was identified from sea cucumber (Stichopus monotuberculatus). The StmPUF60 cDNA is 4503 bp in length, containing a 5'-untranslated region (UTR) of 34 bp, a 3'-UTR of 2963 bp and an open reading frame (ORF) of 1506 bp that encoding a protein of 501 amino acids with a deduced molecular weight of 54.15 kDa and a predicted isoelectric point of 5.15. The putative StmPUF60 protein possesses all the main characteristics of known PUF60 proteins, including two RNA recognition motifs (RRM1 and RRM2), a C-terminal PUMP domain and two conserved nucleic acid-binding ribonucleoprotein sequences (RNP1 and RNP2). For the gene structure, StmPUF60 contains nine exons separated by eight introns. In addition, the highest level of StmPUF60 mRNA expression was noticed in the gonad, followed by coelomocytes, intestine, respiratory tree and body wall. In in vivo experiments, the expression of StmPUF60 mRNA in coelomocytes and intestine was significantly up-regulated by lipopolysaccharides (LPS) challenge, suggesting that the sea cucumber PUF60 might play critical roles in the innate immune defense against bacterial infections. Moreover, we further confirmed that overexpressed StmPUF60 could induce apoptosis, and this function of StmPUF60 may be one of the innate immune defense mechanisms for sea cucumber against pathogen infections.