Prophenoloxidase is a conserved Cu-containing enzyme acting as a major defense molecule in the immune response of crustaceans. In the present research, we purified prophenoloxidase from the haemolymph of Portunus pelagicus (Pp-proPO) by Blue Sepharose CL-6B chromatography. Pp-proPO exhibited only one band with molecular weight of 75 kDa on SDS-PAGE. The purified Pp-proPO was characterized through X-ray diffraction (XRD) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Pp-proPO showed phagocytic activity on the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as well as encapsulation on sepharose CL-6B beads associated with CM sepharose and beads of sodium alginate. Pp-proPO also led to strong agglutination on human erythrocytes. Furthermore, Pp-proPO showed magnified PO activity when altered with activated particles acting as pathogen combined molecular patterns (PAMPs), metal ions or other chemicals. Pp-proPO showed relevant antibiofilm activity on Gram negative bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli. Overall, the above results allowed us to claim that Pp-proPO play a key role in immune defense mechanisms of P. pelagicus crabs, in particular towards microbial pathogens; notably we added basic information to the functional characterization of Pp-proPO, as well as to understand its immunological role in crustaceans defense systems. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.