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Hexamerin was originally identified as a storage protein but later confirmed to be involved in many physiological processes. In the present study, we cloned and characterized a novel hexamerin complementary DNA sequence from the Chinese oak silkworm, Antheraea pernyi (Ap-hexamerin), which shows high homology with reported insect methionine-rich hexamerins. The tissue distribution and time course of expression demonstrated that Ap-hexamerin was predominantly synthesized in the fat body and the expression level was significantly increased in response to the microbial challenge, suggesting the relevance of Ap-hexamerin to immune responses. In further immune functional studies, Ap-hexamerin was confirmed to take part in the upregulation of prophenoloxidase (PPO) activation in A. pernyi haemolymph triggered by pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). Additional molecular interaction analysis revealed that Ap-hexamerin is capable of binding the PAMPs used in the phenoloxidase assay, suggesting hexamerin in A. pernyi may positively regulate haemolymph PPO activation, acting as a pattern recognition protein.
PMID: 31808198 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]