Microsomal triglyceride transfer protein in the ectoparasitic crustacean salmon louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis)
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Lipid Research. 2017, 58 (8), 1613-1623. https://doi.org/10.1194/jlr.m076430
The salmon louse, Lepeophtheirus salmonis, is an endemic ectoparasite on salmonid fish that is challenging for the salmon farming industry and wild fish. Salmon lice produce high numbers of offspring, necessitating sequestration of large amounts of lipids into growing oocytes as a major energy source for larvae, most probably mediated by lipoproteins. The microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) is essential for the assembly of lipoproteins. Salmon lice have three L. salmonis MTP (LsMTP) transcript variants encoding two different protein isoforms, which are predicted to contain three β-sheets (N, C, and A) and a central helical domain, similar to MTPs from other species. In adult females, the LsMTPs are differently transcribed in the sub-cuticular tissues, the intestine, the ovary, and in the mature eggs. RNA interference-mediated knockdown of LsMTP in mature females gave offspring with significantly fewer neutral lipids in their yolk and only 10–30% survival. The present study suggests the importance of LsMTP in reproduction and lipid metabolism in adult female L. salmonis, a possible metabolic bottleneck that could be exploited for the development of new anti-parasitic treatment methods.