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Fish Shellfish Immunol. 2013 Dec;35(6):1937-47. doi: 10.1016/j.fsi.2013.09.040. Epub 2013 Oct 23.

Hemiuroid trematode sporocysts are undetected by hemocytes of their intermediate host, the ark cockle Anadara trapezia: potential role of surface carbohydrates in successful parasitism.

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The University of Queensland, School of Biological Sciences and Centre for Marine Science, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia.


In order to establish a successful relationship with their hosts, parasites must subvert or evade immune defences. Cockle Anadara trapezia and Sydney Rock oyster (SRO) Saccostrea glomerata live in the same location but only ark cockles are infected by sporocysts of hemiuroid trematode. This provides an opportunity to explore differing interactions between the parasite and the immune system of susceptible and refractive hosts. Rapid migration and encapsulation of sporocysts was observed by SRO hemocytes but not by cockle hemocytes. This migration/encapsulation was inhibited by N-acetylglucosamine or N-acetylgalactosamine but not by the other sugars, implicating specific surface carbohydrates in immune detection. Effector responses of hemocytes were investigated in vitro in terms of production of reactive oxygen production (ROS). Hemocytes of both species strongly reacted to Zymosan, but only SRO hemocytes responded to live sporocysts. Neither species' hemocytes produced ROS in the presence of dead/fixed sporocysts, and there was no suppression of Zymosan-induced respiratory burst by sporocysts. This suggests that immune escape is mediated by avoiding encapsulation, perhaps through molecular mimicry. Membrane-shaving with proteases indicated that sporocyst surface proteins are not a key factors in hemocytic detection. Surface carbohydrates of SRO and cockle hemocytes and of sporocysts were profiled with a panel of biotinylated lectins. This revealed substantial differences between cockle and SRO hemocytes, but greater similarity between cockle hemocytes and sporocysts. Results suggest that surface carbohydrates play an integral role in hemocyte immunorecognition and that surface carbohydrate molecular mimicry is a potential strategy for immune evasion in cockles by hemiuroid trematode sporocysts.


Cockle; Encapsulation; Hemocyte; Lectin; Oyster; Trematode

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