Allograft inflammatory factor 1 (AIF-1) is a highly conserved gene involved in inflammation, cloned and characterized in several evolutionary distant animal species. Here, we report the molecular identification, characterization and expression of AIF-1 from the common sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus. In this species, AIF-1 encodes a predicted 151 amino acid protein with high similarity to vertebrate AIF-1 proteins. Immunocytochemical analyses on coelomocytes reveal localization of the AIF-1 protein in amoebocytes (perinuclear cytoplasmic zone) and red sphaerulocytes (inside granules), but not in vibratile cells and colorless sphaerula cells. The significant increase of AIF-1 expression (mRNA and protein) found in the coelomocytes of the sea urchin after Gram + bacterial challenge suggests the involvement of AIF-1 in the inflammatory response. Our analysis on P. lividus AIF-1 contributes to elucidate AIF-1 function along the evolutionary scale and consolidate the key evolutionary position of echinoderms throughout metazoans with respect to the common immune paths.