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

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Author(s)

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

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Abstract

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.
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Original languageEnglish
Article number4627
JournalNature Communications
Volume5
DOIs
StatePublished - 13 Aug 2014

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