Natural Killer Cell Activity in the Eastern Oyster and American Lobster
IAAAM Archive
Brenda M. Morsey; Sylvain De Guise
Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science, University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT, USA


Natural killer (NK) cells are an important part of the innate immune system of mammals. However, little is known about NK-like cell activity in the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) or American lobster (Homarus americanus), two economically important species, or about the role these cells play in defense against pathogens. NK-like cell activity of oyster and lobster hemolymph cells was measured by a flow cytometric assay in which hemocytes were incubated with DiO-labeled K-562 target cells and propidium iodide to label dead cells. For every individual oyster and lobster tested, higher effector-to-target cell ratios resulted in higher levels of target cell death. Moreover, NK-like activity of individual oysters was further enhanced by recombinant human interleukin-2 (IL-2). There is evidence that IL-2 also enhanced lobster hemocyte NK-like activity. Our data demonstrate for the first time the presence of NK-like cell activity in marine invertebrates. This activity was enhanced by physiologically relevant concentrations of mammalian IL-2, which further suggests that some structural and functional homologues of the mammalian innate immune functions are conserved in invertebrates such as oysters and lobsters.

Speaker Information
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Sylvain De Guise, DMV, MSc, PhD
Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis
Davis, CA, USA

Brenda M. Morsey

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