ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0684.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Keywords: Paracentrotus lividus; Transformers; Trf; 185/333; invertebrate immunity; phagocytosis; model organism
Online: 27 May 2021 (15:09:05 CEST)
Sea urchins are long-living invertebrates with a complex immune system which includes extended families of immune receptors. A central immune gene family in the sea urchins encodes for the Transformer (Trf) proteins. The Trf family was so far studied mainly in the purple sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. In this study, we explored this protein family in the Mediterranean Sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus. The PlTrf genes and predicted proteins were found to be highly diverse and showed a typical Trf size range and structure. We found that P. lividus coelomocytes and hemolymph contain different PlTrf protein repertoires with a shared subset which specifically bind E. coli bacteria. Using FACS, we identified five different P. lividus coelomocyte sub-populations with cell surface Trf protein expression. The relative abundance of the Trf-positive cells sharply increased following immune challenge with E. coli bacteria, but not following challenge with LPS or sea urchin pathogen V. penaeicida. Finally, we demonstrated that the phagocytosis of E. coli bacteria by P. lividus phagocytes is mediated through the hemolymph and is inhibited by blocking Trf activity with anti-Trf antibodies. Together, our results suggest collaboration between cellular and humoral Trf-mediated effector arms in the P. lividus specific immune response to pathogens.