Perkinsus marinus suppresses in vitro eastern oyster apoptosis via IAP-dependent and caspase-independent pathways involving TNFR, NF-kB, and oxidative pathway crosstalk

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The protozoan parasite Perkinsus marinus causes Dermo disease in eastern oysters, Crassostrea virginica, and can suppress apoptosis of infected hemocytes using incompletely understood mechanisms. This study challenged hemocytes in vitro with P. marinus for 1 h in the presence or absence of caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK or Inhibitor of Apoptosis protein (IAP) inhibitor GDC-0152. Hemocytes exposure to P. marinus significantly reduced granulocyte apoptosis, and pre-incubation with Z-VAD-FMK did not affect P. marinus-induced apoptosis suppression. Hemocyte pre-incubation with GDC-0152 prior to P. marinus challenge further reduced apoptosis of granulocytes with engulfed parasite, but not mitochondrial permeabilization. This suggests P. marinus-induced apoptosis suppression may be caspase-independent, affect an IAP-involved pathway, and occur downstream of mitochondrial permeabilization. P. marinus challenge stimulated hemocyte differential expression of oxidation-reduction, TNFR, and NF-kB pathways. WGCNA analysis of P. marinus expression in response to hemocyte exposure revealed correlated protease, kinase, and hydrolase expression that could contribute to P. marinus-induced apoptosis suppression.

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Developmental and Comparative Immunology