Antimicrobial peptides in Echinoderms
Keywords:sea urchin, host defence peptides, celomocyte, innate immunity
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are important immune effector molecules for invertebrates,
including echinoderms, which lack a vertebrate-type adaptive immune system. Here we summarize the knowledge of such peptides in echinoderms. Strongylocins are a novel family of cysteine-rich AMPs, recently identified in the sea urchins, Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis and S. purpuratus. Although these molecules present diverse amino acid sequences, they share an identical cysteine arrangement pattern, dissimilar to other known AMPs. A family of heterodimeric AMPs, named centrocins, are also present in S. droebachiensis. Lysozymes and fragments of larger proteins, such as beta-thymocins, actin, histone 2A and filamin A have also been shown to display antimicrobial activities in echinoderms. Future studies on AMPs should be aimed in revealing how echinoderms use these AMPs in the immune response against microbial pathogens.