Multiple Origins of Extracellular DNA Traps

Front Immunol. 2021 Feb 24;12:621311. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.621311. eCollection 2021.


Extracellular DNA traps (ETs) are evolutionarily conserved antimicrobial mechanisms present in protozoa, plants, and animals. In this review, we compare their similarities in species of different taxa, and put forward the hypothesis that ETs have multiple origins. Our results are consistent with a process of evolutionary convergence in multicellular organisms through the application of a congruency test. Furthermore, we discuss why multicellularity is related to the presence of a mechanism initiating the formation of ETs.

Keywords: evolution; extracellular DNA traps; extracellular neutrophil traps; multicellular organisms; neutrophils.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Extracellular Traps / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Phylogeny