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J Immunol. 2009 Feb 15;182(4):2203-12. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.07012766.

Highly variable immune-response proteins (185/333) from the sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus: proteomic analysis identifies diversity within and between individuals.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, New South Wales, Australia.


185/333 genes and transcripts from the purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, predict high levels of amino acid diversity within the encoded proteins. Based on their expression patterns, 185/333 proteins appear to be involved in immune responses. In the present study, one- and two-dimensional Western blots show that 185/333 proteins exhibit high levels of molecular diversity within and between individual sea urchins. The molecular masses of 185/333-positive bands or spots range from 30 to 250 kDa with a broad array of isoelectric points. The observed molecular masses are higher than those predicted from mRNAs, suggesting that 185/333 proteins form strong associations with other molecules or with each other. Some sea urchins expressed >200 distinct 185/333 proteins, and each animal had a unique suite of the proteins that differed from all other individuals. When sea urchins were challenged in vivo with pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs; bacterial LPS and peptidoglycan), the expression of 185/333 proteins increased. More importantly, different suites of 185/333 proteins were expressed in response to different PAMPs. This suggests that the expression of 185/333 proteins can be tailored toward different PAMPs in a form of pathogen-specific immune response.

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