The immune responses of the coral


  • C Toledo-Hernández Sociedad Ambiente Marino, PO Box 22158, San Juan Puerto Rico 00931
  • C P Ruiz-Diaz Sociedad Ambiente Marino, PO Box 22158, San Juan Puerto Rico 00931 ; Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus, PO Box 70377 Puerto Rico


immune response, coral diseases, coral-associated microbes, afferent and effector arms


Corals are among the most ancient extant animals on earth. Currently, coral viability is threatened, due in part to the increased number of diseases affecting them in recent decades. Understanding how the innate immune systems of corals function is important if we want to predict the fate of corals and their response to the environmental and biological changes they face. In this review we discuss the latest findings regarding the innate immune systems of corals. The review is organized following the chronology of steps taken by corals from the initial encounter with a potential pathogen and recognition of threats to the orchestration of a response. We begin with the literature describing the repertory of immune-related receptors involved in the recognition of threats and the subsequent pathways leading to an immune response. We then review the effector responses that eliminate the threats described for corals. Finally, we acknowledge the literature of coral microbiology to access the potential role of microbes as an essential constituent of the coral immune system.