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.