Sea Lice Research Center - SLRC


LiceVault - Implementing a model organism for studying vault function and application as smart adjuvant for fish vaccination.

Structure of rat liver vault

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Vaults are highly conserved ribonucleoprotein complexes found in a wide range of eukaryotic organisms. They are among the largest known ribonucleoprotein complexes, being approximately three times the size of ribosomes. Vaults have a distinct hollow barrel-like structure and consist of several copies of the major vault protein (MVP), telomerase-associated protein 1 (TEP1), vault poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (vPARP), and small untranslated vault RNAs. Although vaults are abundantly present in most cell types, their exact function is still poorly understood. However, studies have suggested that vaults play a role in various biological processes such as multidrug resistance, intracellular transport and signaling, and innate immunity. While vaults are present in most eukaryotes, some important model organisms, such as Drosophila melanogaster, Arabidopsis thaliana, Caenorhabditis elegans, and yeast, appear to lack these structures.

Recently, the salmon louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) genome was sequenced, and several genes encoding proteins related to the vault complex were identified. In this project, we aim to investigate the function of the vault complex using the salmon louse as a model. Given its distinct lifestyle, genome organization, and evolutionary characteristics, the salmon louse presents an exciting opportunity to shed new light on the function of vaults.

The salmon louse poses a huge threat to the welfare and economy of the fish farming industry, yet effective treatment methods are still limited. Engineered vaults have been explored as smart adjuvants for vaccines and it would therefore be interesting to investigate the potential of utilizing vault as a smart adjuvant in fish vaccines targeting the salmon louse.