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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 26;8(7):e69158. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069158. Print 2013.

A scallop nitric oxide synthase (NOS) with structure similar to neuronal NOS and its involvement in the immune defense.

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Key Laboratory of Experimental Marine Biology, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, China.



Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) is responsible for synthesizing nitric oxide (NO) from L-arginine, and involved in multiple physiological functions. However, its immunological role in mollusc was seldom reported.


In the present study, an NOS (CfNOS) gene was identified from the scallop Chlamys farreri encoding a polypeptide of 1486 amino acids. Its amino acid sequence shared 50.0~54.7, 40.7~47.0 and 42.5~44.5% similarities with vertebrate neuronal (n), endothelial (e) and inducible (i) NOSs, respectively. CfNOS contained PDZ, oxygenase and reductase domains, which resembled those in nNOS. The CfNOS mRNA transcripts expressed in all embryos and larvae after the 2-cell embryo stage, and were detectable in all tested tissues with the highest level in the gonad, and with the immune tissues hepatopancreas and haemocytes included. Moreover, the immunoreactive area of CfNOS distributed over the haemocyte cytoplasm and cell membrane. After LPS, β-glucan and PGN stimulation, the expression level of CfNOS mRNA in haemocytes increased significantly at 3 h (4.0-, 4.8- and 2.7-fold, respectively, P < 0.01), and reached the peak at 12 h (15.3- and 27.6-fold for LPS and β-glucan respectively, P < 0.01) and 24 h (17.3-fold for PGN, P < 0.01). In addition, TNF-α also induced the expression of CfNOS, which started to increase at 1 h (5.2-fold, P < 0.05) and peaked at 6 h (19.9-fold, P < 0.01). The catalytic activity of the native CfNOS protein was 30.3 ± 0.3 U mgprot(-1), and it decreased significantly after the addition of the selective inhibitors of nNOS and iNOS (26.9 ± 0.4 and 29.3 ± 0.1 U mgprot(-1), respectively, P < 0.01).


These results suggested that CfNOS, with identical structure with nNOS and similar enzymatic characteristics to nNOS and iNOS, played the immunological role of iNOS to be involved in the scallop immune defense against PAMPs and TNF-α.

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