Towards an integrated network of coral immune mechanisms

C. V. Palmer, N. Traylor-Knowles

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Reef-building corals form bio-diverse marine ecosystems of high societal and economic value, but are in significant decline globally due, in part, to rapid climatic changes. As immunity is a predictor of coral disease and thermal stress susceptibility, a comprehensive understanding of this new field will likely provide a mechanistic explanation for ecological-scale trends in reef declines. Recently, several strides within coral immunology document defence mechanisms that are consistent with those of both invertebrates and vertebrates, and which span the recognition, signalling and effector response phases of innate immunity. However, many of these studies remain discrete and unincorporated into the wider fields of invertebrate immunology or coral biology. To encourage the rapid development of coral immunology, we comprehensively synthesize the current understanding of the field in the context of general invertebrate immunology, and highlight fundamental gaps in our knowledge. We propose a framework for future research that we hope will stimulate directional studies in this emerging field and lead to the elucidation of an integrated network of coral immune mechanisms. Once established, we are optimistic that coral immunology can be effectively applied to pertinent ecological questions, improve current prediction tools and aid conservation efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4106-4114
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume279
Issue number1745
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Coagulation
  • Coral immunology
  • Immune cells
  • Invertebrate immunity
  • Melanin
  • TOLL-like receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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