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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The gene encoding the sea urchin complement protein, SpC3, is expressed in embryos and can be upregulated by bacteria.

Sea urchins have an innate immune response that functions in the absence of adaptive capabilities. It is mediated, in part, by components of the complement system, an important subsystem of the innate response in mammals. A homologue of complement C3, SpC3, has been identified in adult Strongylocentrotus purpuratus and is expressed in coelomocytes. In this study, transcript levels from the gene, Sp064, which encodes SpC3, were examined in developing embryos and found to be present in unfertilized eggs and throughout embryogenesis with a peak in transcript levels just prior to and during gastrulation. In addition, continuous exposure of embryos, beginning with the hatched blastula stage, to heat killed Vibrio diazatrophicus, a marine pathogen of sea urchins, significantly increased Sp064 message content in plutei compared to unexposed controls. These results suggest that sea urchin embryos may use a complement-based immune system for defense against pathogens in their aquatic environment.[1]


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