Preliminary investigation demonstrating the GHITM gene probably involved in apoptosis and growth of the golden apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata).
Background: Growth hormone inducible transmembrane protein (GHITM) is a highly conserved transmembrane protein. This study was conducted to investigate the role of GHITM gene in the apoptosis and growth of the golden apple snail Pomacea canaliculate. Results: The complete cDNA of this gene was cloned using the rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) method and subjected to bioinformatics analysis. The full-length cDNA was 2242 bp, including an open reading frame of 1021 bp that encoded a protein of 342 amino acid residues. The mRNA expression profiles of GHITM gene in different tissues (liver, kidney, gonad and foot) and different growth phases (6-months old and 2-years old) showed that it was expressed in various tissues and different growth phases. Silencing of the GHITM gene by RNAi (RNA interference) experiments revealed that the GHITM gene possibly plays a role in inhibiting apoptosis through detecting the Caspase (Cysteine-requiring Aspartate Protease)-3 activity. In addition, the aperture width and body whorl length of the snail was significantly affected by RNAi, suggesting that this gene plays a significant role in promoting the growth of the organism. Conclusions: These results demonstrated that the GHITM gene was involved in apoptosis and growth in golden apple snail.