The purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, has a complex and robust immune system that is mediated by a number of multi-gene families including the SpTransformer (SpTrf) gene family (formerly Sp185/333). In response to immune challenge from bacteria and various pathogen-associated molecular patterns, the SpTrf genes are up-regulated in sea urchin phagocytes and express a diverse array of SpTrf proteins. We show here that SpTrf proteins from coelomocytes and isolated by nickel affinity (cNi-SpTrf) bind to Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and to Baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, with saturable kinetics and specificity. cNi-SpTrf opsonization of the marine bacteria, Vibrio diazotrophicus, augments phagocytosis, however, opsonization by the recombinant protein, rSpTrf-E1, does not. Binding by cNi-SpTrf proteins retards growth rates significantly for several species of bacteria. SpTrf proteins, previously thought to be strictly membrane-associated, are secreted from phagocytes in short term cultures and bind V. diazotrophicus that are located both outside of and within phagocytes. Our results demonstrate anti-microbial activities of native SpTrf proteins and suggest variable functions among different SpTrf isoforms. Multiple isoforms may act synergistically to detect a wide array of pathogens and provide flexible and efficient host immunity. © 2018 Chou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Chou, H. Y., Lun, C., & Smith, L. C. (2018). SpTransformer proteins from the purple sea urchin opsonize bacteria, augment phagocytosis, and retard bacterial growth. PLoS ONE, 14 (5). http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0196890