Cytotoxicity reactions in the solitary tunicate Styela plicata

David A. Raftos*, Aimee Hutchinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Hemocytes from the tunicate, Styela plicata, undertake cytotoxic responses toward human KS62 tumor cells or rabbit red blood cells (RRBC). Reactions to both target cell types were found to require metabolic activity. However, it was not determined whether killing involves soluble factors or direct cell/cell contact. Differences in the response to varied effector: target ratios indicate that reactions against the K562 cells and RRBC are mediated by separate mechanisms. The existence of two discrete cytotoxic mechanisms was supported by experiments which demonstrated that pharmacological treatments have different effects on the cytotoxic destruction of K562 cells and RRBC. Moreover, cytotoxic reactions toward the different targets cells were shown to be mediated by different hemocyte sub-populations isolated from hemolymph by density gradient centrifugation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-471
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytolysis
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Hemocyte
  • Invertebrate immunity
  • K562 cells
  • Tunicate (Urochordata, Ascidiacea)


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