Exocytosis of a complement component C3-like protein by tunicate hemocytes

David A. Raftos*, Megan Fabbro, Sham V. Nair

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    This study investigates the exocytic responses of invertebrate hemocytes to pathogen-associated antigens. It demonstrates that a homologue of complement component C3, a key defensive protein of the innate immune system, is expressed by phagocytic hemocytes (non-refractile vacuolated cells) of the tunicate, Styela plicata. C3-like molecules are localized in sub-cellular vesicles and are rapidly exocytosed after stimulation with bacterial, fungal or algal cell surface molecules. Signal transduction analysis indicated that the induced secretion of C3-like molecules is mediated by a G-protein dependent signaling pathway, which modulates tubulin microtubules. All of this evidence indicates that hemocytes can contribute to host defense responses by rapidly exocytosing C3-like proteins at sites of infection.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)181-190
    Number of pages10
    JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004


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