Potential role of cathepsin B in the embryonic and larval development of clam Meretrix meretrix.
ABSTRACT This study was designed to investigate the possible role of Meretrix meretrix cathepsin B (MmeCB) in embryonic and larval development. MmeCB mRNA expression profile was revealed by semi-quantitative RT-PCR. The level of MmeCB mRNA expression was low in trochophore stage but high in pedveliger stage. MmeCB protein expression was detected in the digestive gland, velum, and epidermis along the edges of the shell in D-larvae and pedveligers by immunocytochemistry. In post larvae, MmeCB protein expression was noticed abundant in the digestive gland, whereas a modest expression was identified in the gill filament. The average shell length of larvae hatched from embryos treated with 0.01, 1, and 10 µmol/L Ca074Me (a cathepsin B inhibitor) was significantly shorter than that of control groups. The metamorphosis rates of larvae treated with 0.01 and 1 µmol/L Ca074Me were significantly lower than that of control groups in 4-day larvae, but not in 5-day larvae. Taken together, these results indicated that MmeCB may have stimulatory effects on embryonic development, metamorphosis, and larval growth during M. meretrix larval development.