Acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND) is a recently emerged disease in aqua cultured shrimp that is caused by virulent strains of Vibrio parahaemolyticus (VP). Our previous study used transcriptomics to identify key pathogenic factors in the stomach of AHPND-infected shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei), and here we used a different subset of the same data to construct a gene-to-gene expression correlation network to identify immune-responsive genes. LvSerpin7 was found to have the highest number of correlations after infection, and it also showed a significant increase in mRNA expression. LvSerpin7 is expressed in all tissues but its expression levels are highest in hemocytes. After successfully silencing LvSerpin7 transcript prior to AHPND challenge, mortality was significantly increased relative to the controls and reached 100% within 36 h post infection. Compared to the controls, the phenoloxidase (PO) activity also increased in both hemolymph and stomach. Recombinant LvSerpin7 inhibited shrimp PO activity in vitro, and we also found that rLvSerpin7 inhibited the growth of AHPND-causing bacteria. These results suggest that LvSerpin7 might reduce the toxic effects that result from unregulated activation of the PO defense system by AHPND-causing bacteria.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology