Identification of immune-relevant genes in histoincompatible rejecting colonies of the tunicate Botryllus schlosseri

Matan Oren, Jacob Douek, Zvi Fishelson, Baruch Rinkevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The colonial ascidian Botryllus schlosseri manifests a unique allorecognition system that is controlled by a single histocompatibility haplotype, the Fu/HC locus. When two allogeneic incompatible colonies come into direct contact, they develop inflammatory-like rejection lesions, called points of rejection (POR). While screening for differentially expressed genes during POR formation, we developed and analyzed a cDNA library of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) with 1693 unique ESTs that were clustered and assembled into 217 contigs and 1476 singlets. About 51% of these ESTs showed high similarity (E-value ≤0.005) to known database sequences, of which 123 matches were identified as immune-relevant genes encoding for stress proteins, pattern recognition receptors and complement proteins, proteases and protease inhibitors, cell adhesion and coagulation proteins, cytokine-related proteins, programmed cell death and proteasome-associated proteins. This first EST wide-screening analysis of the Botryllus allorecognition effector arm reveals a complex innate immune system, hallmarked by a whole genome response to allorecognition challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-902
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the Marine Genomics Europe Network of Excellence (EDD Node), from the United States–Israel Bi-National Science Foundation (2003-010) and partly from the Israel Academy of Science (550-06). We thank V. Caspi from the Bioinformatics Support Unit at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev for dedicated computer work and G. Paz for assistance in manuscript preparation.


  • Allorecognition
  • Botryllus
  • Expressed sequence tags
  • Immunity
  • Subtraction library
  • Urochordata

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Developmental Biology


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