Purification and characterization of antibacterial proteins from granular hemocytes of Indian mud crab, Scylla serrata
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Marine invertebrates depend upon antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) as a major component of innate immunity, as they are rapidly synthesized and diffuse upon pathogen invasion. In this study, we report the identification and characterization of a 11 kDa antimicrobial protein, which we name SSAP (for Scylla serrata antimicrobial protein), from granular hemocytes of the mangrove crab S. serrata. The protein is highly similar to scygonadin, a male-specific AMP isolated from the ejaculatory duct of S. serrata. SSAP was isolated using various chromatographic techniques, viz. ion-exchange, ultra filtration and RP-HPLC, and demonstrated antibacterial activity against Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria. Full length mRNA encoding SSAP was amplified using a combination of RT-PCR and RACE. The nucleotide sequence revealed a full-length ORF of 381 bp coding for a preprotein of 126 amino acids comprising a signal peptide of 24 amino acids and a mature protein of 102 amino acids with a predicted mass of 11435 Da and pI of 5.70. Unlike scygonadin, SSAP is expressed in several tissues of both male and female crabs, as evidenced by RT-PCR, Northern and Western blot analyses. The study suggests that SSAP might be an isoform or a variant of scygonadin and might play an important role in regulating the immunity of the crab upon microbial infection.
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