Olfactory specific chymotrypsin-like serine protease from the aesthetasc tegumental gland of the lobster, Homarus americanus

Ruben Stepanyan, Shannon B. Haley, Timothy S. McClintock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Numerous proteases and protease inhibitors are expressed in the lobster olfactory organ. One of these proteases, olfactory enriched transcript 03 (OET-03), is particularly interesting because its mRNA is expressed only in one cell type of the olfactory organ of the American lobster, Homarus americanus. We have obtained a full-length cDNA clone of OET-03. The predicted amino acid sequence is equally divided between a novel N-terminal domain and a conserved serine protease catalytic domain at the C-terminus. Heterologous expression in HEK293 cells allowed protease assays demonstrating that OET-03 cleaved a specific serine protease substrate, N-alpha benzoyl-L-arginine p-nitroanilide, but did not cleave a substrate of metalloproteases and cysteine proteases. OET-03 protease activity was significantly inhibited by the chymotrypsin-like protease inhibitor, tosyl-L-phenylalanine chloromethyl ketone, but not by the general protease inhibitor, phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride. Immunoreactivity for OET-03 was detected only in the cells previously shown to contain OET-03 mRNA. The cytoplasm of these cells was filled with enlarged smooth endoplasmic reticulum (a characteristic of secretory cells) that appeared to expand into large electron-translucent areas at the ventral end of the cell. The ventral ends of these secretory cells were apposed to phalloidin-labeled triangular structures reminiscent of the beginnings of the ducts of crustacean tegumental glands. This putative gland was found only in association with the aesthetasc sensory units of the olfactory organ, hence the name, aesthetasc tegumental gland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-330
Number of pages10
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Research grant no. R01 DC002366.


  • Aesthetasc tegumental gland
  • American lobster, (Homarus americanus (Crustacea))
  • Proteolysis
  • Secretion
  • Smell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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