Astacin-like squid metalloprotease (ALSM) is a member of the astacin family of metalloproteases. In the present study, we investigated the expression and tissue distribution of ALSM in bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) and golden cuttlefish (Sepia esculenta). Myosin heavy chain hydrolysis tests showed ALSM-I-like activity in both species. We isolated partial cDNA clones showing high sequence similarity to ALSM-I and -III, suggesting that ALSM is common to squid and cuttlefish. Phylogenetic analysis showed that ALSMs are classified into two clades: ALSM-I forms one clade, and ALSM-II and -III form the other. ALSM was expressed in several tissues in bigfin reef squid, though expression was confined to the liver in cuttlefish. ALSMs are distributed in digestive organs but not in mantle muscle of squid and cuttlefish. Immunofluorescence analysis further showed that cellular localization of ALSM is evident not only in hepatic cells but also in pancreatic cells of bigfin reef squid. Thus, ALSM is commonly expressed in squid and cuttlefish, but its expression levels and distribution are distinct.
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