ABSTRACT: A defensin-like peptide was previously detected in hemocytes of Manila clams (Ruditapes philippinarum). In the current study, we cloned and characterized this defensin, designated MCdef. Cloning produced a full-length gene sequence of 201 bp predicted to encode a 66-amino-acid precursor protein maturing to a 44-amino-acid residue. Amino acid sequence analysis showed that MCdef is similar to defensins from marine mollusks and ticks. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that MCdef is closely related to defensins from Mytilus galloprovincialis (Mediterranean mussel) and Crassostrea gigas (Pacific cupped oyster). The three-dimensional structure of MCdef was modeled using the solution structure of C. gigas defensin as a template. With the exception of three variable loop areas, the modeled structure of MCdef was identical to that of C. gigas defensin. MCdef antiserum was raised against a synthetic MCdef peptide and verified by Western blotting using recombinant MCdef. RT-PCR analysis demonstrated high levels of MCdef mRNA in hemocytes and adductor, foot, gill, mantle, palp, and siphon tissues of Vibrio tapetis-infected Manila clams, whereas in V. tapetis-uninfected Manila clams, the level of MCdef mRNA was low in adductor, palp, and siphon tissues and even lower in the other tested tissues. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed high MCdef expression was detected in the gill, the mantle, and the digestive tubules of the diverticulum of V. tapetis-infected Manila clams. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the purified rMCdef was determined. MCdef showed highest activity against Streptococcus iniae and Staphylococcus aureus.
Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part B, Biochemistry & molecular biology 09/2011; 161(1):25-31. · 1.61 Impact Factor