Chapter

Invertebrate Immunity

Volume 708 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology pp 260-301

Echinoderm Immunity

  • L. Courtney SmithAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, George Washington University Email author 
  • , Julie GhoshAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, George Washington University
  • , Katherine M. BuckleyAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Biophysics and Department of Immunology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto
  • , Lori A. ClowAffiliated withUS Patent and Trademark Office
  • , Nolwenn M. DheillyAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University
  • , Tor HaugAffiliated withNorwegian College of Fishery Science, University of Tromso
  • , John H. HensonAffiliated withDepartment of Biology and the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program, Dickinson College
  • , Chun LiAffiliated withNorwegian College of Fishery Science, University of Tromso
  • , Cheng Man LunAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, George Washington University
    • , Audrey J. MajeskeAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, George Washington University
    • , Valeria MatrangaAffiliated withCNR, Institute of Biomedicine and Molecular Immunology “Albert Monroy”
    • , Sham V. NairAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University
    • , Jonathan P. RastAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Biophysics and Department of Immunology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto
    • , David A. RaftosAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University
    • , Mattias RothAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University
    • , Sandro SacchiAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, George Washington University
    • , Catherine S. SchrankelAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, George Washington University
    • , Klara StensvågAffiliated withNorwegian College of Fishery Science, University of Tromso

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Abstract

A survey for immune genes in the genome for the purple sea urchin has shown that the immune system is complex and sophisticated. By inference, immune responses of all echinoderms may be similar. The immune system is mediated by several types of coelomocytes that are also useful as sensors of environmental stresses. There are a number of large gene families in the purple sea urchin genome that function in immunity and of which at least one appears to employ novel approaches for sequence diversification. Echinoderms have a simpler complement system, a large set of lectin genes and a number of antimicrobial peptides. Profiling the immune genes expressed by coelomocytes and the proteins in the coelomic fluid provide detailed information about immune functions in the sea urchin. The importance of echinoderms in maintaining marine ecosystem stability and the disastrous effects of their removal due to disease will require future collaborations between ecologists and immunologists working towards understanding and preserving marine habitats.