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The immunomodulatory function of invertebrate specific neuropeptide FMRFamide in oyster Crassostrea gigas

Li, Meijia, Wang, Min, Wang, Weilin, Wang, Lingling, Liu, Zhaoqun, Sun, Jiejie, Wang, Kejian, Song, Linsheng
Fish & shellfish immunology 2019 v.88 pp. 480-488
Crassostrea gigas, cytokines, ganglia, gene expression, gene expression regulation, genes, hemocytes, hepatopancreas, homeostasis, immune response, immunocytochemistry, immunohistochemistry, immunomodulators, lipopolysaccharides, messenger RNA, mitogen-activated protein kinase, muscles, neuropeptides, nitric oxide, oysters, pathogens, phosphorylation, phylogeny, shellfish
As one of the most important neuropeptides identified only in invertebrates of Mollusca, Annelida and Arthropoda, FMRFamide (Phe-Met-Arg-Phe-NH2) involves in multiple physiological processes, such as mediating cardiac frequency and contraction of somatic and visceral muscles. However, its modulatory role in the immune defense has not been well understood. In the present study, an FMRFamide precursor (designed as CgFMRFamide) was identified in oyster Crassostrea gigas, which could be processed into nineteen FMRFamide peptides. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that CgFMRFamide shared high similarity with other identified FMRFamides in mollusks. The mRNA of CgFMRFamide was mainly concentrated in the tissues of visceral ganglia, hepatopancreas and hemocytes, and a consistent distribution of FMRFamide peptide was confirmed by immunohistochemistry and immunocytochemistry assays. The mRNA expression level of CgFMRFamide in hemocytes was significantly up-regulated after immune stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). After the concentration of FMRFamide was increased by exogenous injection, the in vivo expressions of pro-inflammatory cytokine CgIL17-5, as well as the apoptosis-related CgCaspase-1 and CgCaspase-3 in hemocytes were promptly increased (p < 0.05), but the concentration of signal molecule nitric oxide (NO) was significantly down-regulated (p < 0.05). Meanwhile, an increased phosphorylation of p38 MAP kinase in hemocytes was also detected after the FMRFamide injection. These results collectively demonstrated that the conserved FMRFamide could not only respond to immune stimulation, but also regulate the expression of immune effectors and apoptosis-related genes, which might be mediated by p38 MAP kinase pathway, thereby effectively involved in clearing pathogens and maintaining homeostasis in oysters.