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Increasing transcriptome response of serpins during the ontogenetic stages in the salmon louse Caligus rogercresseyi (Copepoda: Caligidae)

Maldonado-Aguayo, W., Gallardo-Escárate, C.
Marine genomics 2014 v.15 pp. 55-64
Caligus rogercresseyi, Lepeophtheirus salmonis, adults, amino acid sequences, ectoparasites, elastase, fish, gene expression, immune response, immune system, ontogeny, proteinase inhibitors, proteolysis, subtilisin, transcriptome, transcriptomics, trypsin
Serine protease inhibitors, or serpins, target serine proteases, and are important regulators of intra- and extracellular proteolysis. For parasite survival, parasite-derived protease inhibitors have been suggested to play essential roles in evading the host's immune system and protecting against exogenous host proteases. The aim of this work was to identify serpins via high throughput transcriptome sequencing and elucidate their potential functions during the lifecycle of the salmon louse Caligus rogercresseyi. Eleven putative, partial serpin sequences in the C. rogercresseyi transcriptome were identified and denoted as Cr-serpins 1 to 11. Comparative analysis of the deduced serpin-like amino acid sequences revealed a highly conserved reactive center loop region. Interestingly, P1 residues suggest putative functions involved with the trypsin/subtilisin, elastase, or subtilisin inhibitors, which evidenced increasing gene expression profiles from the copepodid to adult stage in C. rogercresseyi. Concerning this, Cr-serpin 10 was mainly expressed in the copepodid stage, while Cr-serpins 3, 4, 5, and 11 were mostly expressed in chalimus and adult stages. These results suggest that serpins could be involved in evading the immune response of the host fish. The identification of these serpins furthers the understanding of the immune system in this important ectoparasite species.