Functional characterization of Vitellogenin_N domain, domain of unknown function 1943, and von Willebrand factor type D domain in vitellogenin of the non-bilaterian coralEuphyllia ancora: Implications for emergence of immune activity of vitellogenin in basal metazoan

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Our understanding of the function of vitellogenin (Vg) in reproduction has undergone a transformation over the past decade in parallel with new insights into the role of Vg in immunity. However, the time when Vg was endowed with immunological activities during animal evolution remains elusive. Here we demonstrate for the first time that the recombinant proteins rVitellogenin_N, rDUF1943, and rVWD from Vg of the basal metazoan coral Euphyllia ancora not only interact with Gram-positive and negative bacteria as well as their conserved surface components LTA and LPS but also enhance phagocytosis of bacteria by macrophages. Moreover, challenge with LPS results in a marked up-regulation of vg in the coral E. ancora. These data suggest that E. ancora Vg, like that described in the bilaterian oviparous animals fish and amphioxus, is a molecule related to antibacterial defense, indicating that the timing of the emergence of immune role of Vg predates the divergence of the cnidarian (non-bilaterian) and bilaterian lineages.

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