Ciona intestinalisgalectin (CiLgals-a andCiLgals-b) genes are differentially expressed in endostyle zones and challenged by LPS

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Immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization assays were performed to answer the question whether the endostyle, that is the initial gastro-intestinal trait of Ciona intestinalis pharynx, is involved in galectin (CiLgals-a and CiLgals-b) production during the pharynx inflammatory response to LPS inoculation. Specific anti-CiLgal-a and anti-CiLgals-b antibodies, and oligonucleotide probes, that mark inflammatory hemocytes inside the pharynx vessels and vessel epithelium as shown by a previous paper, were assayed on endostyle histological sections. For the first time, we show that galectins are produced by endostyle zones, and both CiLgals-a and –b genes are upregulated by LPS. CiLgals-a and CiLgals-b are constitutively expressed in the endostyle zone 2 and 3, respectively, both genes are upregulated by LPS in the zone 2, and CiLgals-b in the zone 3 and 4. The antibody-reacting material contained in intracellular and extracellular large vesicles suggest an unexpected vesicle-dependent transporting mechanism of galectins not provided with signal peptide. Differential expression and gene upregulation in not-treated and LPS-treated specimens, support the role of endostyle galectins both in filter feeding and defense responses.

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