The arms race between vertebrate hosts and parasites has led to diversification systems able to generate huge repertoires of immune recognition receptors and antigenic variants. Until recently, the invertebrate immunity was considered to be poorly specific, and consequently, antigenic variability was not expected to be high for their respective parasites. In the present chapter, we show how the study of the interaction between the snail Biomphalaria glabrata and its parasite Schistosome mansoni has shaken this paradigm. We show that the fate of the interaction between the snail and its parasite is at least partly the result of the concordance of highly variable repertoires of immune recognition receptors in the snail and corresponding antigenic variants in the parasite. We call these antigenic variants of the schistosome Schistosoma mansoni polymorphic mucins (SmPoMucs). We show hat their high level of diversification is the result of a complex cascade of mechanisms, thus presenting evidence for antigenic variation in a parasite infecting an invertebrate species.
Gourbal, B., Théron, A., Grunau, C., Duval, D., & Mitta, G. (2015). Polymorphic mucin-like proteins in schistosoma mansoni, a variable antigen and a key component of the compatibility between the schistosome and its snail host. In Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation (Vol. 57, pp. 91–108). Springer Verlag. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-20819-0_4