Invertebrate animals, which lack adaptive immune systems, have developed defense systems, so-called innate immunity, that respond to common antigens on the surface of potential pathogens. One such defense system is involved in the cellular responses of horseshoe crab hemocytes to invaders. Hemocytes contain two types, large (L) and small (S), of secretory granules, and the contents of these granules are released in response to invading microbes via exocytosis. Recent biochemical and immunological studies on the granular components of L- and S-granules demonstrated that the two types of granules selectively store granule-specific proteins participating in the host defense systems. L-Granules contain all the clotting factors essential for hemolymph coagulation, protease inhibitors including serpins and cystatin, and anti-lipopolysaccharide (LPS) factor and several tachylectins with LPS binding and bacterial agglutinating activities. On the other hand, S-granules contain various new cysteine-rich basic proteins with antimicrobial or bacterial agglutinating activities, such as tachyplesins, big defensin, tachycitin, and tachystatins. The co-localization of these proteins in the granules and their release into the hemolymph suggest that they serve synergistically to construct an effective host defense system against invaders. Here, the structures and functions of these new types of defense molecules found in the Japanese horseshoe crab.
|Number of pages
|Journal of biochemistry
|Published - Jan 1998
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology