Innate defence: evidence for memory in invertebrate immunity

Nature. 2003 Sep 4;425(6953):37-8. doi: 10.1038/425037a.


Acquired immunity in vertebrates is characterized by immunological memory and specificity, whereas the innate defence systems of invertebrates are assumed to have no specific memory. Here we use a model system of a copepod, which is a minute crustacean, and a parasitic tapeworm to show that the success of reinfection depends on the antigenic resemblance between the consecutively encountered parasites. This finding indicates that an invertebrate defence system may be capable of specific memory.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cestoda / genetics
  • Cestoda / immunology*
  • Copepoda / immunology*
  • Copepoda / parasitology*
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Disorders of Sex Development
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Larva / immunology
  • Siblings
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Time Factors