Opsonins play a key role in invertebrate humoral immune systems. An opsonin for yeast was identified in the plasma of the tunicate, Styela clava. In vitro cultures of hemocytes with homologous plasma-incubated yeast exhibited significantly higher levels of phagocytosis than controls. Studies indicated that the opsonic activity of Styela clava plasma increased the overall capacity for phagocytosis. Opsonization was inhibited by the carbohydrates mannan, N-acetyl-d-galactosamine, and galactose, and by the divalent cation chelator, EDTA. These data suggest that the Styela clava opsonin may share some functional similarities with a C-type lectin. Incubation of yeast with Styela clava and Styela plicata plasma prior to phagocytosis by hemocytes from both species indicated the Styela clava opsonin is species specific.
- Humoral immunity