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1.  Characterization of Four Novel Caspases from Litopenaeus vannamei (Lvcaspase2-5) and Their Role in WSSV Infection through dsRNA-Mediated Gene Silencing 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80418.
Apoptosis plays an important role in white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) pathogenesis, and caspases are central players in apoptosis. Here, we cloned four novel caspases (Lvcaspase2-5) from the Pacific white shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei, and investigated their potential roles in WSSV replication using dsRNA-mediated gene silencing. Lvcaspase2-5 have the typical domain structure of caspase family proteins, with the conserved consensus motifs p20 and p10. Lvcaspase2 and Lvcaspase5 were highly expressed in muscle, while Lvcaspase3 was highly expressed in hemocytes and Lvcaspase4 was mainly expressed in intestine. Lvcaspase2-5 could also be upregulated by WSSV infection, and they showed different patterns in various tissues. When overexpressed in Drosophila S2 cells, Lvcaspase2-5 showed different cellular localizations. Using dsRNA-medicated gene silencing, the expression of Lvcaspase2, Lvcaspase3, and Lvcaspase5 were effectively knocked down. In Lvcaspase2-, Lvcaspase3- or Lvcaspase5-silenced L. vannamei, expression of WSSV VP28 gene was significantly enhanced, suggesting protective roles for Lvcaspase2, Lvcaspase3 and Lvcaspase5 in the host defense against WSSV infection.
PMCID: PMC3871164  PMID: 24376496
2.  Analysis of Expression, Cellular Localization, and Function of Three Inhibitors of Apoptosis (IAPs) from Litopenaeus vannamei during WSSV Infection and in Regulation of Antimicrobial Peptide Genes (AMPs) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72592.
Inhibitors of apoptosis (IAPs) play important roles in apoptosis and NF-κB activation. In this study, we cloned and characterized three IAPs (LvIAP1-3) from the Pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeusvannamei. LvIAP1-3 proteins shared signature domains and exhibited significant similarities with other IAP family proteins. The tissue distributions of LvIAP1-3 were studied. The expression of LvIAP1-3 was induced in the muscle after white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) infection. LvIAP1 expression in the gill, hemocytes, hepatopancreas, and intestine was responsive to WSSV and Vibrioalginolyticus infections. LvIAP2 expression in the gill, hemocytes, and hepatopancreas was also responsive to WSSV infection. The expression of LvIAP3 in the gill, hemocytes, and intestine was reduced after V. alginolyticus infection. When overexpressed in Drosophila S2 cells, GFP labeled-LvIAP2 was distributed in the cytoplasm and appeared as speck-like aggregates in the nucleus. Both LvIAP1 and LvIAP3 were widely distributed throughout the cytoplasm and nucleus. The expression of LvIAP1, LvIAP2, and LvIAP3 was significantly knocked down by dsRNA-mediated gene silencing. In the gill of LvIAP1- or LvIAP3-silenced shrimp, the expression of WSSV VP28 was significantly higher than that of the dsGFP control group, suggesting that LvIAP1 and LvIAP3 may play protective roles in host defense against WSSV infection. Intriguingly, the LvIAP2-silenced shrimp all died within 48 hours after dsLvIAP2 injection. In the hemocytes of LvIAP2-silenced shrimps, the expression of antimicrobial peptide genes (AMPs), including Penaeidins, lysozyme, crustins, Vibriopenaeicidae-induced cysteine and proline-rich peptides (VICPs), was significantly downregulated, while the expression of anti-lipopolysaccharide factors (ALFs) was upregulated. Moreover, LvIAP2 activated the promoters of the NF-κB pathway-controlled AMPs, such as shrimp Penaeidins and Drosophila drosomycin and attacin A, in Drosophila S2 cells. Taken together, these results reveal that LvIAP1 and LvIAP3 might participate in the host defense against WSSV infection, and LvIAP2 might be involved in the regulation of shrimp AMPs.
PMCID: PMC3743791  PMID: 23967321
3.  Activating Transcription Factor 4 and X Box Binding Protein 1 of Litopenaeus vannamei Transcriptional Regulated White Spot Syndrome Virus Genes Wsv023 and Wsv083 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62603.
In response to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, the signaling pathway termed unfolded protein response (UPR) is activated. To investigate the role of UPR in Litopenaeus vannamei immunity, the activating transcription factor 4 (designated as LvATF4) which belonged to a branch of the UPR, the [protein kinase RNA (PKR)-like ER kinase, (PERK)]-[eukaryotic initiation factor 2 subunit alpha (eIF2α)] pathway, was identified and characterized. The full-length cDNA of LvATF4 was 1972 bp long, with an open reading frame of 1299 bp long that encoded a 432 amino acid protein. LvATF4 was highly expressed in gills, intestines and stomach. For the white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) challenge, LvATF4 was upregulated in the gills after 3 hpi and increased by 1.9-fold (96 hpi) compared to the mock-treated group. The LvATF4 knock-down by RNA interference resulted in a lower cumulative mortality of L. vannamei under WSSV infection. Reporter gene assays show that LvATF4 could upregulate the expression of the WSSV gene wsv023 based on the activating transcription factor/cyclic adenosine 3′, 5′-monophosphate response element (ATF/CRE). Another transcription factor of L. vannamei, X box binding protein 1 (designated as LvXBP1), has a significant function in [inositol-requiring enzyme-1(IRE1) – (XBP1)] pathway. This transcription factor upregulated the expression of the WSSV gene wsv083 based on the UPR element (UPRE). These results suggest that in L. vannamei UPR signaling pathway transcription factors are important for WSSV and might facilitate WSSV infection.
PMCID: PMC3634759  PMID: 23638122
4.  Identification and Function of Leucine-Rich Repeat Flightless-I-Interacting Protein 2 (LRRFIP2) in Litopenaeus vannamei 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57456.
Leucine-rich repeat flightless-I-interacting protein 2 (LRRFIP2) is a myeloid differentiation factor 88-interacting protein with a positive regulatory function in toll-like receptor signaling. In this study, seven LRRFIP2 protein variants (LvLRRFIP2A-G) were identified in Litopenaeus vannamei. All the seven LvLRRFIP2 protein variants encode proteins with a DUF2051 domain. LvLRRFIP2s were upregulated in hemocytes after challenged with lipopolysaccharide, poly I:C, CpG-ODN2006, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Staphylococcus aureus, and white spot syndrome virus (WSSV). Dual-luciferase reporter assays in Drosophila Schneider 2 cells revealed that LvLRRFIP2 activates the promoters of Drosophila and shrimp AMP genes. The knockdown of LvLRRFIP2 by RNA interference resulted in higher cumulative mortality of L. vannamei upon V. parahaemolyticus but not S. aureus and WSSV infections. The expression of L. vannamei AMP genes were reduced by dsLvLRRFIP2 interference. These results indicate that LvLRRFIP2 has an important function in antibacterials via the regulation of AMP gene expression.
PMCID: PMC3585381  PMID: 23468989
5.  Identification, Characterization, and Function Analysis of the Cactus Gene from Litopenaeus vannamei 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49711.
The nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) pathways play important roles in innate immune responses. IκB is the main cytoplasmic inhibitor of NF-κB. In this study, we identified the LvCactus gene from Litopenaeus vannamei, which is the first cloned IκB homologue in subphylum Crustacea. LvCactus contains six predicted ankyrin repeats, which show similarities to those of Cactus proteins from insects. LvCactus localizes in cytoplasm and interacts with LvDorsal, an L. vannamei homologue to Drosophila melanogaster Dorsal belonging to class II NF-κB family, to prevent its nuclear translocation. Contrary to that of LvDorsal, over-expression of LvCactus down-regulates the activities of shrimp antimicrobial peptides promoters, suggesting LvCactus is an inhibitor of LvDorsal. The promoter of LvCactus was predicted to contain five putative NF-κB binding motifs, among which four were proved to be bound by LvDorsal by chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Dual-luciferase reporter assays also showed that transcription of LvCactus was promoted by LvDorsal but inhibited by LvCactus itself, indicating a feedback regulatory pathway between LvCactus and LvDorsal. Expression of LvCactus was up-regulated after Lipopolysaccharides, poly (I:C), Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and Staphylococcus aureus injections, suggesting an activation response of LvCactus to bacterial and immune stimulant challenges. Differently, the LvCactus expression levels obviously decreased during white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) infection, indicating the feedback regulatory pathway of LvCactus/LvDorsal could be modified by WSSV.
PMCID: PMC3504109  PMID: 23185415
6.  Identification and Function of Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 (MyD88) in Litopenaeus vannamei 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47038.
Myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) is a universal and essential signaling protein in Toll-like receptor/interleukin-1 receptor-induced activation of nuclear factor-kappa B. In this study, two MyD88 protein variants (LvMyD88 and LvMyD88-1) were identified in Litopenaeus vannamei. The LvMyD88 cDNA is 1,848 bp in length and contains an open reading frame (ORF) of 1,428 bp, whereas the LvMyD88-1 cDNA is 1,719 bp in length and has an ORF of 1,299 bp. Both variants encode proteins with death and Toll/interleukin-1 receptor domains and share 91% sequence identity. In healthy L. vannamei, the LvMyD88 genes were highly expressed in hemocytes but at a low level in the hepatopancreas. The LvMyD88s expression was induced in hemocytes after challenge with lipopolysaccharide, CpG-ODN2006, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Staphyloccocus aureus, and white spot syndrome virus, but not by poly I∶C. Overexpression of LvMyD88 and LvMyD88-1 in Drosophila Schneider 2 cells led to activation of antimicrobial peptide genes and wsv069 (ie1), wsv303, and wsv371. These results suggested that LvMyD88 may play a role in antibacterial and antiviral response in L. vannamei. To our knowledge, this is the first report on MyD88 in shrimp and a variant of MyD88 gene in invertebrates.
PMCID: PMC3470552  PMID: 23071706

Results 1-6 (6)