Hepcidin is a family of short cysteine-rich antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) participating in various physiological functions with inevitable role in host immune responses. Present study deals with identification and characterisation of a novel hepcidin isoform from coral fish Zanclus cornutus. The 81 amino acid (aa) preprohepcidin obtained from Z. cornutus consists of a hydrophobic aa rich 22 mer signal peptide, a highly variable proregion of 35 aa and a bioactive mature peptide with 8 conserved cysteine residues which contribute to the disulphide back bone. The mature hepcidin, Zc-hepc1 has a theoretical isoelectric point of 7.46, a predicted molecular weight of 2.43 kDa and a net positive charge of +1. Phylogenetic analysis grouped Z. cornutus hepcidin with HAMP2 group hepcidins confirming the divergent evolution of hepcidin-like peptide in fishes. Zc-hepc1 can attain a β-hairpin-like structure with two antiparallel β-sheets. This is the first report of an AMP from the coral fish Z. cornutus.
Keywords: Antimicrobial peptide; Coral fish; Hepcidin; Innate immunity; Moorish idol; Zanclus cornutus.