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J Insect Physiol. 2013 Jul;59(7):682-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2013.04.012. Epub 2013 May 6.

Rac1 mediates cytokine-stimulated hemocyte spreading via prostaglandin biosynthesis in the beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua.

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Department of Bioresource Sciences, Andong National University, Andong 760-749, Republic of Korea.


Cell spreading is an integral component of insect hemocytic immune reactions to infections and invasions. Cell spreading is accomplished by cytoskeleton rearrangement, which is activated by three major immune mediators, biogenic monoamines, plasmatocyte-spreading peptide (PSP), and eicosanoids, particularly prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). However, little is known about how these immune mediators activate hemocyte spreading at the intra-cellular level. A small G protein, Rac1, acts in cytoskeleton arrangements in mammalian cells. Based on this information, we identified a Rac1 transcript (SeRac1) in hemocytes prepared from Spodoptera exigua. SeRac1 was expressed in most developmental stages and in the two main immunity-conferring tissues, hemocytes and fat body, in larvae. In response to bacterial challenge, its expression was up-regulated by >37-fold at 2h post-injection and returned to a basal level about 2h later. Silencing SeRac1 expression inhibited hemocyte spreading in response to three immune mediators, octopamine, 5-hydroxytryptamine, and PSP. Addition of PGE2 to SeRac1-silenced larvae rescued the influence of these three mediators on hemocyte spreading. These compounds also increased phospholipase A2 activity via SeRac1, which leads to prostaglandin biosynthesis. We infer that SeRac1 transduces OA, 5-HT, and PSP signaling via activating biosynthesis of prostaglandins and possibly other eicosanoids.

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