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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2003 Jun;33(6):579-94.

cDNA cloning, purification, properties, and function of a beta-1,3-glucan recognition protein from a pyralid moth, Plodia interpunctella.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA.


Microorganisms possess distinctive biochemical or molecular patterns on their cell surfaces, such as those formed by the lipopolysaccharides, lipoteichoic acids, and/or peptidoglycans of bacteria and the beta-1,3-glucans of fungi. Pattern recognition proteins that bind to these surface moieties have been implicated in the activation of the innate immune response in insects and other invertebrates. We report the purification and cloning of a cDNA for a 53-kDa beta-1,3-glucan recognition protein (betaGRP) from the Indianmeal moth, Plodia interpunctella (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). BetaGRP cDNA contains an open reading frame that encodes 488 amino acids, of which the first 17 residues comprise the secretion signal peptide. The calculated molecular mass of the 471-residue mature protein is 53,311 Da. The protein consists of a carboxyl-terminal domain that is similar to other recognition proteins from invertebrates, beta-1,3-glucanases from bacteria, and a beta-1,3-glucanase from the sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. The amino-terminus of betaGRP shares sequence similarity with other invertebrate recognition molecules and the beta-1,3-glucanase from S. purpuratus. Affinity purification of a 53-kDa protein and subsequent sequencing of a peptide produced by tryptic cleavage confirmed the presence of the betaGRP in P. interpunctella larval hemolymph. RT-PCR analysis indicates that betaGRP is constitutively expressed in all life-stages, with no detectable induction following exposure of wandering larvae to microbial elicitors. Northern blot analysis indicates that the 1.8-kb betaGRP transcript is transcribed within the fat body. Recombinant betaGRP retains beta-1,3-glucan-binding activity, binds to lipopolysaccharide and lipoteichoic acid in vitro, causes aggregation of microorganisms, and activates the prophenoloxidase cascade in the presence of soluble beta-1,3-glucan. These data support the hypothesis that the 53-kDa betaGRP functions to recognize pathogen surface molecules as nonself and subsequently activates insect innate immune responses.

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