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J Biochem. 2011 Nov;150(5):501-14. doi: 10.1093/jb/mvr085. Epub 2011 Jul 14.

A unique epidermal mucus lectin identified from catfish (Silurus asotus): first evidence of intelectin in fish skin slime.

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School of Marine Biosciences, Kitasato University, Uto, Okirai, Sanriku, Ofunato, Iwate, Kagoshima University, Shimoarata, Japan.


The present study reports a new type of skin mucus lectin found in catfish Silurus asotus. The lectin exhibited calcium-dependent mannose-binding activity. When mannose eluate from chromatography with mannose-conjugated agarose was analysed by SDS-PAGE, the lectin appeared as a single 35-kDa band. Gel filtration showed that the lectin forms monomers and dimers. A 1216-bp cDNA sequence obtained by RACE-PCR from the skin encoded a 308 amino acid secretory protein with homology to mammalian and fish intelectins. RT-PCR demonstrated that the lectin gene was expressed in the gill, kidney and skin. Subsequent sequencing revealed the presence of an isoform in the gills. Antiserum detected the intelectin protein in club cells in the skin and gill, renal tubules and blood plasma. Although intelectin gene expression was not induced by in vivo bacterial stimulation, the intelectin showed agglutination activity against the pathogenic bacterium Aeromonas salmonicida, suggesting that the lectin plays an important role in self-defence against bacteria in the skin surface of the catfish. These findings represent one of the few examples of characterization and functional analysis of a fish intelectin protein.

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