Hemocytes of Ciona intestinalis express multiple genes involved in innate immune host defense

Kazuhito Shida, Daichi Terajima, Ryuji Uchino, Shuntaro Ikawa, Makoto Ikeda, Katsutoshi Asano, Toshio Watanabe, Kaoru Azumi, Masaru Nonaka, Yutaka Satou, Nori Satoh, Masanobu Satake, Yoshiyuki Kawazoe, Atsuo Kasuya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Ascidians, which are classified as urochordata, appear to employ a primitive system of host defense that is considered to be a prototype of vertebrate innate immunity. We performed a cDNA/EST study to identify the genes expressed in the hemocytes of Ciona intestinalis. We obtained 3357 one-path reads that were then grouped into 1889 independent clusters. Although two thirds of the clusters could not be assigned to any particular gene, the remaining 530 clusters had significant homology to genes with known function. Of these, 62 clusters appeared to be related to host defense mechanisms. These include transcripts whose products are probably involved in cytotoxicity, detoxification, inflammation, and apoptosis. As expected, elements of acquired immunity were not detected. Thus, Ciona hemocytes appear to express a number of host defense-related genes involved in innate immune mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-218
Number of pages12
JournalBiochemical and biophysical research communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jan 10


  • Ascidian
  • EST
  • Hemocytes
  • Host defense
  • Innate immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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