Expression of SpC3, the sea urchin complement component, in response to lipopolysaccharide

L. A. Clow, P. S. Gross, C. S. Shih, L. C. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The homologue of the vertebrate complement component C3 that is expressed in the coelomocytes of the purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, designated SpC3, was investigated for changes in response to immune challenge or injury. Immunoquiescent animals were used in this study because they have reduced or no detectible SpC3 in their coelomocytes or coelomic fluid (CF). Animals were injected with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or sterile sea water (SSW, injury control). Changes in the amounts of SpC3 in coelomic fluid and in coelomocytes were then followed over time by Western blots and ELISA. Changes in mRNA from the SpC3 gene (Sp064) were also followed by RT-PCR. Although all animals responded to injury with increased levels of SpC3 in the coelomic fluid, those challenged with LPS had greater amounts of SpC3 in both CF and coelomocytes than those receiving SSW. In most of the animals receiving LPS, initial increases in SpC3 were observed within 1 h post-injection, while the earliest response in the animals receiving SSW was 6 h. The appearance of SpC3 in the coelomocytes was delayed compared to its appearance in CF, and was first detected several days after challenge. Changes in mRNA from the Sp064 gene paralleled the appearance of SpC3 in the coelomic fluid. Increases in the number of coelomocytes per milliliter of CF and in the percentage of coelomocytes that were SpC3+ also occurred after challenge with LPS or in response to injury, with a slightly greater increase in response to LPS. Although the changes in SpC3 were not as great as those identified previously for human C3 expressed in macrophages, the kinetics of the response are similar to that of acute-phase reactants in mammals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1021-1033
Number of pages13
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Coelomocyte
  • Complement C3
  • Innate immunity
  • Sea urchin
  • SpC3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Genetics

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