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The mitogen-activated protein kinase family plays an important role in cell differentiation, growth, proliferation, and survival. However, the current research on the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family in invertebrates is limited to the individual gene, and the analysis has not been conducted at the family level. In the present study, echinoderm MAPK family was identified by genomic screening, and five members, including three ERK subfamily members, one c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) subfamily, and one p38-MAPK member were detected. Phylogenetic analysis showed that three MAPK subfamilies were separated into three separated clusters, and ERK subfamily appeared earlier than the other two subfamilies. Synteny analysis revealed that the p38 subfamily might be derived from the continuous gene duplication events of MAPK14 subfamily in invertebrates, which displayed genome expansion via gene duplication in vertebrates. The role of MAPK family in echinoderm immune defense was determined by investigating the expression profiles of MAPKs in Vibrio splendidus-challenged Apostichopus japonicus and LPS-exposed coelomocytes. The result showed that five MAPK members displayed induced expression profiles both in vitro and in vivo, and the peak expression was detected at different time points. Our study provides new insights into the evolutionary history of the MAPK family and show the similar immune function among MAPK members. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Yuanlan Wu, Xuelin Zhao, Yangxi Xiang, Ming Guo, Chenghua Li. Evolution of mitogen-activated protein kinase family and their immune function in Apostichopus japonicus. Developmental and comparative immunology. 2023 Feb;139:104586

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PMID: 36347398

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