Allorecognition in a Basal Chordate Consists of Independent Activating and Inhibitory Pathways

Tanya R. McKitrick, Christina C. Muscat, James D. Pierce, Deepta Bhattacharya, Anthony W. De Tomaso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Histocompatibility in the basal chordate Botryllus schlosseri is controlled by the polymorphisms of a single gene: the fuhc. A polymorphic candidate receptor (fester) appeared to play roles in both initiating the reaction and discriminating between fuhc alleles. Here we report the characterization of a related protein, uncle fester. uncle fester is not polymorphic, and although coexpressed with fester, has different functional properties. Loss-of-function studies demonstrate that uncle fester was required for incompatible reactions but has no role in interactions between compatible individuals. Furthermore, stimulation with monoclonal antibodies could initiate a rejection phenotype on a single colony, and in both assays the severity of the rejection could be manipulated. These findings suggest that allorecognition in Botryllus consists of independent pathways that control compatible and incompatible outcomes that are integrated within the interacting cells, and may provide insight into basal processes conserved in allorecognition responses throughout the metazoa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-626
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 22 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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