Immune activity at the gut epithelium in the larval sea urchin

Cell Tissue Res. 2019 Sep;377(3):469-474. doi: 10.1007/s00441-019-03095-7. Epub 2019 Aug 28.


The embryo of the purple sea urchin has been a fruitful model for the study of developmental gene regulatory networks. For similar reasons, the feeding sea urchin larva provides a gene regulatory model to investigate immune interactions at the gut epithelium. Here we describe what is known of the gut structure and immune cells of the sea urchin larva, and the cellular and gene expression response of the larva to gut-associated immune challenge. As a focused example of how the sea urchin larva can be compared with vertebrate systems, we discuss the expression and function of the IL-17 signalling system in the course of the larval immune response.

Keywords: Barrier immunity; IL-17; Inflammation; Mucosal immunity; Vibrio.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Digestive System / immunology*
  • Epithelium / immunology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology*
  • Larva / immunology*
  • Strongylocentrotus purpuratus / immunology*


  • Interleukin-17