Hematopoiesis in a Crustacean
Abstract: Hemocytes (blood cells) play an important role in the immune response in invertebrates, and thus the regulation of hemocyte homeostasis (hematopoiesis) is essential for the host survival against pathogens. Astakine 1, a homologue to vertebrate prokineticins, was first identified in the freshwater crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus as a cytokine, and was found to be necessary for new hemocyte synthesis and release in vivo, and also to induce spreading and proliferation of Hematopoietic tissue cells (Hpt cells, precursor of hemocytes) in vitro. The work of this thesis is aimed to further our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in astakine 1 induced hematopoiesis.Crayfish transglutaminase (Tgase) has been identified in the hemocytes, and is essential for the coagulation reaction. Interestingly this enzyme is exceedingly abundant in the Hpt cells, and the spreading of Hpt cells induced by astakine 1 was accompanied by sequential loss of TGase activity from the surface of these cells. This loss of TGase activity may be an important effect of astakine 1, resulting in recruiting new hemocytes into the circulatory system. Although astakine 1 contain a prokineticin domain, it lacks the conserved N-terminal AVIT motif present in its vertebrate homologues. This motif is important for vertebrate prokineticins to interact with their receptors, indicating a different receptor interaction for crayfish astakine 1. Astakine 1 was indeed found to interact with a completely different receptor, the ?-subunit of ATP synthase, on a portion of Hpt cells, and subsequently block its extracellular ATP formation. Surface ATP synthase has been reported on numerous mammalian cells, but now for the first time in an invertebrate. The activity of ATP synthase on the Hpt cells may be important for the survival and proliferation of Hpt cells, but the underlying mechanisms remain further study. With the finding of a second type of astakine in crayfish, invertebrate astakines can be divided into two groups: astakine 1 and astakine 2. The properties of astakine 2 are different from those of astakine 1 both in structure and function. In primary cell culture of Hpt cells, only astakine 1 can promote proliferation as well as differentiation into semigranular cells, whereas astakine 2 may play a potential role in the maturation of granular cells. Moreover, a novel cysteine rich protein, Pacifastacus hematopoiesis factor (PHF), was found to be one target gene of astakine 1 in Hpt cells. Down regulation of PHF results in increased apoptosis in Hpt cells in vitro, and in vivo silencing PHF leads to a severe loss of hemocytes in the animal. Therefore astakine 1 acquires the anti-apoptosis ability by inducing its downstream gene PHF in the Hpt cells. With its ability to promote the survival, proliferation and differentiation of Hpt cells, astakine 1 is proven to be an important hematopoietic growth factor.
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