Alloimmune maturation in the coral Stylophora pistillata is achieved through three distinctive stages, 4 months post-metamorphosis

U. Frank, U. Oren, Y. Loya, B. Rinkevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adult colonies of the reef-building coral Stylophora pistillata discriminate precisely between 'self' and 'nonself' attributes, and respond selectively against specific allogeneic challenges. We studied the ontogeny of these allospecific responses on newly settled polyps by establishing allogeneic contacts within groups of 2-6 siblings or non-related offspring. Interactions were observed for up to 8 months. Three types of response, depending on the age of the interacting partners, were documented. The first was tissue fusion and the formation of a stable chimera, observed in partners less than 2 months old. The second was observed in contacts of partners 2-4 months old. It started with tissue fusion and transitory chimera since separation of the chimera partners or polyp death resulted when the oldest partner in the chimera reached the age of 4 months. The third type was the regular histoincompatibility response, as documented in allogeneic interactions of adult colonies, recorded here in all encounters with S.pistillata partners over 4 months old. Maturation of allorecognition in this species was therefore achieved through three time-dependent stages, 4 months following metamorphosis. Combinations of siblings or genetically unrelated partners did not affeect the results. We propose that the coral alloimmune maturation system may be used as a new evolutionary model scheme for studying tissue transplantation and tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1378
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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