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The phagocytosis activating protein (PAP) gene has been reported to stimulate the phagocytic activity of shrimp hemocytes and to protect shrimp from several pathogens. In this study oral administration of the chitosan-PAP gene to shrimp was investigated for its ability to induce immunity. The PAP gene was cooperated into a phMGFP plasmid, named PAP-phMGFP. Chitosan-PAP-phMGFP nanoparticles were formed by mixing a low molecular weight chitosan (50 kDa) and a high molecular weight chitosan (150 kDa) with various ratios of PAP-phMGFP. The optimal ratio of chitosan PAP-phMGFP nanoparticles was first determined by transfection into Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells before being used for oral immunization in shrimp. The chitosan-PAP-phMGFP nanoparticles at a ratio of 2:1 with the low molecular weight chitosan were optimum for transfecting the CHO cells. The shrimp were then fed with 25, 50, 100 and 150 μg/shrimp/day of chitosan-PAP-phMGFP (2:1) nanoparticles then challenged by the white spot syndrome virus (WSSV). Shrimp fed with 50 μg of chitosan-PAP-phMGFP nanoparticles per day for 7 consecutive days, produced the highest relative percent survival (RPS) (94.45 ± 9.86%). The presence of PAP-phMGFP was detected in every shrimp tissue including the hemolymph, lymphoid organ, heart, hepatopancreas, intestine and muscle. The folds increase of the PAP gene expression increased significantly together with an increase of the phagocytic activity in the immunized shrimp. The stability of the PAP-phMGFP in the immunized shrimp hemolymph was detected by determination of the expression of the GFP at various days after immunization ceased. GFP expression was detected until the 15th day but not at the 30th day after immunization ceased. A quantitative analysis of the WSSV copies in shrimp heart tissue was significantly reduced in the immunized shrimp. In addition, chitosan-PAP-phMGFP nanoparticles protected shrimp against WSSV, Yellow head virus (YHV) and Vibrio harveyi with RPS values of 83.34 ± 7.86%, 55.56 ± 15.72% and 53.91 ± 5.52%, respectively. This study therefore confirms the role of the PAP gene in shrimp immunity and may lead to the development of a way to prevent microbial diseases of shrimp at an industrial level by appropriate feeding of a chitosan/DNA complex. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Umaporn Khimmakthong, Pataraporn Kongmee, Panchalika Deachamag, Ureporn Leggat, Wilaiwan Chotigeat. Activation of an immune response in Litopenaeus vannamei by oral immunization with phagocytosis activating protein (PAP) DNA. Fish & shellfish immunology. 2013 Mar;34(3):929-38

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PMID: 23353001

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