We test here for the existence of specific alloimmune memory in the rejection responses of the colonial tunicate Botryllus schlosseri. Colony specificity in these organisms is controlled by the Fu/HC locus. Rejection occurs only between colonies that do not share any allelic determinant at this locus. Two sets of experiments were conducted: 1) Forty‐nine pairs of nonfusible oozooids were interacted naturally along a period of several months. They rejected, disconnected, and in 20% of the cases, interacted again. 2) Repeated colony allorecognition assays were done on 15 pairs of interacting subclones (up to 5 consecutive tests/pair). Major results indicate: 1) Not all ampulla‐ampulla interactions resulted in necrotic areas, points of rejection (PORs). 2) A full repertoire of PORs was attained within the first 10 days. Thereafter, no more PORs were added. 3) The outcome of indifference (cases where ampulla‐ampulla contacts did not result in rejection) was repeatedly recorded in multiple tests, and its frequency increased in the secondary and tertiary tests along a set of 5 consecutive tests. It is concluded that allospecific memory, as measured by an accelerated production of PORs and amplification in their number, was not characteristic of the Botryllus rejection phenomenon, which, however, reveals the qualities of a low responder. These results are discussed in the light of some aspects of tolerance in the mammalian system. © 1992 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology