Sea star coelomic fluid is in contact with all internal organs, carrying signaling molecules and a large population of circulating cells, the coelomocytes. These cells, also known as echinoderm blood cells, are responsible for the innate immune responses and are also known to have an important role in the first stage of regeneration, i.e. wound closure, necessary to prevent disruption of the body fluid balance and to limit the invasion of pathogens. This study focuses on the proteome characterization of these multifunctional cells. The identification of 358 proteins was achieved using a combination of two techniques for protein separation (1-D SDS-PAGE followed by nanoLC and 2-D SDS-PAGE) and MALDI-TOF/TOF MS for protein identification. To our knowledge, the present report represents the first comprehensive list of sea star coelomocyte proteins, constituting an important database to validate many echinoderm-predicted proteins. Evidence for new pathways in these particular echinoderm cells are also described, and thus representing a valuable resource to stimulate future studies aiming to unravel the homology with vertebrate immune cells and particularly the origins of the immune system itself.
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