Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Invertebrate extracellular phagocyte traps show that chromatin is an ancient defence weapon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Open Access permissions



Calum Robb, Elisabeth Dyrynda, Robert Gray, Adriano Rossi, Valerie Jane Smith

School/Research organisations


Controlled release of chromatin from the nuclei of
inflammatory cells is a process that entraps and kills
microorganisms in the extracellular environment. Now termed
ETosis, it is important in innate immunity in vertebrates.
Paradoxically, however, in mammals it can also contribute to
certain pathologies. Here we show that ETosis occurs in several
invertebrate species, including, remarkably, an acoelomate.
Our findings reveal that the phenomenon is primordial and
predates the evolution of the coelom. In invertebrates the
released chromatin participates in defence not only by
ensnaring microorganisms and externalising antibacterial
histones together with other haemocyte-derived defence
factors, but crucially, also provides the scaffold upon which
intact haemocytes assemble during encapsulation; a response
that sequesters and kills potential pathogens infecting the body
cavity. This insight into the early origin of ETosis identifies it as
a very ancient process that helps explain some of its
detrimental effects in mammals.


Original languageEnglish
Article number4627
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2014

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by journal

  1. Nature Communications (Journal)

    Andy Gardner (Reviewer)
    Feb 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Related by journal

  1. An oxalate cathode for lithium ion batteries with combined cationic and polyanionic redox

    Yao, W., Armstrong, A. R., Zhou, X., Sougrati, M-T., Kidkhunthod, P., Tunmee, S., Sun, C., Sattayaporn, S., Lightfoot, P., Ji, B., Jiang, C., Wu, N., Tang, Y. & Cheng, H-M., 2 Aug 2019, In : Nature Communications. 10, 9 p., 3483.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  2. Enhanced carbon dioxide electrolysis at redox manipulated interfaces

    Wang, W., Gan, L., Lemmon, J. P., Chen, F., Irvine, J. T. S. & Xie, K., 4 Apr 2019, In : Nature Communications. 10, 10 p., 1550.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Fluidal pyroclasts reveal the intensity of peralkaline rhyolite pumice cone eruptions

    Clarke, B., Calder, E. S., Dessalegn, F., Fontijn, K., Cortés, J. A., Naylor, M., Butler, I., Hutchison, W. & Yirgu, G., 1 May 2019, In : Nature Communications. 10, 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Hidden structural and chemical order controls lithium transport in cation-disordered oxides for rechargeable batteries

    Ji, H., Urban, A., Kitchaev, D. A., Kwon, D-H., Artrith, N., Ophus, C., Huang, W., Cai, Z., Shi, T., Kim, J. C., Kim, H. & Ceder, G., 5 Feb 2019, In : Nature Communications. 10, 9 p., 592.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Highly emissive excitons with reduced exchange energy in thermally activated delayed fluorescent molecules

    Pershin, A., Hall, D., Lemaur, V., Sancho-Garcia, J-C., Muccioli, L., Zysman-Colman, E., Beljonne, D. & Olivier, Y., 5 Feb 2019, In : Nature Communications. 10, 5 p., 597.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 150656653