Immune systems are responsible for mediating relationships between host cells and microbial life. This includes not only protection from harmful pathogens but also supporting the growth of a beneficial microbiota; the ability to differentiate among a vast array of rapidly-evolving microbes is critical for organismal success. Within Metazoa, several strategies have evolved to generate repertoires of immune receptors that are dedicated to this task. Vertebrates rely on sophisticated mechanisms of somatic diversification to generate extensive repertoires of adaptive immune receptors. As an alternate approach, a growing number of invertebrate genome surveys have identified large, multigene families that encode orthologs of vertebrate innate immune receptors (e.g., Toll-like receptors [TLRs]). One prominent example of these expansions is within echinoderms. Computational analyses of available genome sequences from sea urchins reveals that individual species maintain 50 – 250 diverse genes encoding TLR, compared to 10 – 20 in vertebrates. In this talk, I will present recent findings from analyses of sea urchin immune systems from the perspective of recently available genome sequences.
Join us on Monday, October 30 in Stephens Room (3503 Thomas Hall) and ZOOM for the Genetics and Genomics Seminar Series. Link: https://ncsu.zoom.us/j/91741454918?pwd=U0drVUpPdGJiSXVpcnVUZDNwaHVUZz09