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Insect immunity: molecular cloning, expression, and characterization of cDNAs and genomic DNA encoding three isoforms of insect defensin in Aedes aegypti

, : Insect immunity: molecular cloning, expression, and characterization of cDNAs and genomic DNA encoding three isoforms of insect defensin in Aedes aegypti. Insect Molecular Biology. February; 81: 107-118

Aedes aegypti were immune activated by injection with bacteria, and the expression of insect defensins was measured over time. Northern analyses indicated that defensin transcriptional activity continued for at least 21 days after bacterial injection, and up to 10 days after saline inoculation. Mature defensin levels in the haemolymph reached approximately 45 microM at 24 h post inoculation. cDNAs encoding the preprodefensins of three previously described mature Ae. aegypti defensins were amplified by PCR, cloned and sequenced. Genomic clones were amplified using primers designed against the cDNA sequence. Sequence comparison indicates that there is significant inter- and intra-isoform variability in the signal peptide and prodefensin sequences of defensin genes. Preprodefensin sequences of isoforms A and B are very similar, consisting of a signal peptide region of twenty amino acids, a prodefensin region of thirty-eight amino acids and a forty amino acid mature peptide domain. The sequence encoding isoform C is significantly different, comprising a signal peptide region of twenty-three amino acids, a prodefensin region of thirty-six amino acids, and the mature protein domain of forty amino acids. Analysis of the genomic clones of each isoform revealed one intron spatially conserved in the prodefensin region of all sequences. The intron in isoforms A and B is 64 nt long, and except for a 4 nt substitution in one clone, these intron sequences are identical. The intron in isoform C is 76 nt long and does not share significant identity with the intron sequences of isoforms A or B. The defensin gene mapped to chromosome 3, between two known loci, blt and LF168.


PMID: 9927179

DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2583.1999.810107.x

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