Invertebrate cytokines: Tunicate cell proliferation stimulated by an interleukin 1-like molecule

David A. Raftos, Edwin L. Cooper*, Gail S. Habicht, Gregory Beck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Tunicate pharyngeal cells include lymphocyte-like cells and granular amoebocytes. They are involved in the specific allogeneic and phagocytic reactions of tunicates. Little is known about their regulation or control. A tunicate interleukin 1 (IL-1)-like fraction is shown to stimulate the proliferation of these cells in vitro. This fraction, designated tunicate IL-1β, was isolated from tunicate hemolymph by gel filtration and chromatofocusing chromatography. Mitogenic responses to tunicate IL-1β were dose dependent and could be eliminated rapidly by removing tunicate IL-1β from culture medium. A second tunicate hemolymph fraction had no effect on tunicate cell proliferation even though it exhibited IL-1-like activity in a mouse thymocyte proliferation assay. Phytohemagglutinin did not act synergistically with either fraction. These data are discussed in terms of the function and evolution of IL-1-like molecules in invertebrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9518-9522
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunology
  • Lymphokines
  • Mitogenesis
  • Urochordata


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