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Fish Shellfish Immunol. 2013 Nov;35(5):1604-12. doi: 10.1016/j.fsi.2013.09.004. Epub 2013 Sep 13.

Molecular cloning and characterization of a cathepsin B gene from the Chinese shrimp Fenneropenaeus chinensis.

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  • 1College of Marine Life Science, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266003, China; Key Laboratory for Sustainable Utilization of Marine Fisheries Resources of Chinese Department of Agriculture, Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, 106 Nanjing Road, Qingdao 266071, China.


Cathepsin B is a unique member of the cathepsin superfamily, which acts as both an endopeptidase and peptidyl-dipeptidase. To obtain a better understanding of this enzyme, we cloned a cDNA encoding cathepsin B from the muscle of Fenneropenaeus chinensis (FcCB). FcCB contained a 996-bp open reading frame (ORF) encoding a protein of 331 amino acid residues with a putative signal peptide and a propeptide_C1 at the N-terminal, a glutamine oxyanion hole and active site cysteine, histidine and asparagine residues. A region from residue 79 to 327 conferred the peptidase activity of FcCB. Pair-wise and multiple sequence alignment with 17 other organisms, including ten different vertebrate species, five different invertebrate species and two different plant species, indicated that the signal peptide and the propeptide_C1 at the N-terminal of FcCB were less conserved than the mature protein, except when compared with Penaeus monodon, Litopenaeus vannamei and Marsupenaeus japonicas, all of which belong to the genus Penaeus. The expression of FcCB in the hepatopancreas was higher than that in the gill. The expression of FcCB in the gill was higher than that in the muscle. A challenge test was performed to reveal the responses of FcCB in different tissues to white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) infection, which causes serious economic losses in the shrimp farming industry. The FcCB gene expressions in the ectoderm, mesoderm and entoderm were not the same prior to WSSV infection, but at 6 h after WSSV challenge, the FcCB expression in the gill, hepatopancreas and muscle was up-regulated, suggesting that FcCB might be involved in the immune response to WSSV. Three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified in the FcCB gene, involving C/T transitions, which are known as mutation hot spots. Notably, the three SNPs constituted a haplotype that can be used as an indicator of the haplotype block. The SNP genotypes of two groups of shrimps, respectively comprising 96 WSSV-resistant shrimps and 96 WSSV-susceptible shrimps, were obtained using a high-resolution melting (HRM) method. Associated factors, including observed heterozygosity (Ho), expected heterozygosity (He), minor allele frequency (MAF) and P-values for the deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE), were obtained. For the association analysis with WSSV resistance, the P-values were calculated using Pearson's chi-square test. In the two groups, the MAFs of all sites were greater than 0.05, and no site departed significantly (P < 0.05) from HWE. The genotype distribution of the C-984T mutation site between the two groups was not significantly different. These results lead to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of the host-virus interaction and provide useful information for solving the WSSV problem.


Cathepsin B; Fenneropenaeus chinensis; Haplotype; Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP); White spot syndrome virus (WSSV)

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