Extracellular vesicles and post-translational protein deimination signatures in haemolymph of the American lobster (Homarus americanus)

Bowden, Timothy J.; Kraev, Igor and Lange, Sigrun (2020). Extracellular vesicles and post-translational protein deimination signatures in haemolymph of the American lobster (Homarus americanus). Fish & Shellfish Immunology, 106 pp. 79–102.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsi.2020.06.053


The American lobster (Homarus americanus) is a commercially important crustacean with an unusual long life span up to 100 years and a comparative animal model of longevity. Therefore, research into its immune system and physiology is of considerable importance both for industry and comparative immunology studies. Peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs) are a phylogenetically conserved enzyme family that catalyses post-translational protein deimination via the conversion of arginine to citrulline. This can lead to structural and functional protein changes, sometimes contributing to protein moonlighting, in health and disease. PADs also regulate the cellular release of extracellular vesicles (EVs), which is an important part of cellular communication, both in normal physiology and in immune responses. Hitherto, studies on EVs in Crustacea are limited and neither PADs nor associated protein deimination have been studied in a Crustacean species. The current study assessed EV and deimination signatures in haemolymph of the American lobster. Lobster EVs were found to be a poly-dispersed population in the 10-500 nm size range, with the majority of smaller EVs, which fell within 22-115 nm. In lobster haemolymph, 9 key immune and metabolic proteins were identified to be post-translationally deiminated, while further 41 deiminated protein hits were identified when searching against a Crustacean database. KEGG (Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes) and GO (gene ontology) enrichment analysis of these deiminated proteins revealed KEGG and GO pathways relating to a number of immune, including anti-pathogenic (viral, bacterial, fungal) and host-pathogen interactions, as well as metabolic pathways, regulation of vesicle and exosome release, mitochondrial function, ATP generation, gene regulation, telomerase homeostasis and developmental processes. The characterisation of EVs, and post-translational deimination signatures, reported in lobster in the current study, and the first time in Crustacea, provides insights into protein moonlighting functions of both species-specific and phylogenetically conserved proteins and EV-mediated communication in this long-lived crustacean. The current study furthermore lays foundation for novel biomarker discovery for lobster aquaculture.

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