Histocompatibility and Reproduction: Lessons from the Anglerfish

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4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Reproduction in certain deep-sea anglerfishes involves the permanent attachment of dwarf males to much larger females and fusion of their tissues leading to the establishment of a shared circulatory system. This unusual phenomenon of sexual parasitism enables anglerfishes to maximize reproductive success in the vast and deep oceans, where females and males otherwise rarely meet. An even more surprising phenomenon relates to the observation that joining of genetically disparate male and female anglerfishes does not evoke a strong anti-graft immune rejection response, which occurs in vertebrates following allogeneic parabiosis. Recent studies demonstrated that the evolutionary processes that led to the unique mating strategy of anglerfishes coevolved with genetic changes that resulted in loss of functional genes encoding critical components of the adaptive immune system. These genetic alterations enabled anglerfishes to tolerate the histoincompatible tissue antigens of their mate and prevent the occurrence of reciprocal graft rejection responses. While the exact mechanisms by which anglerfishes defend themselves against pathogens have not yet been deciphered, it is speculated that during evolution, anglerfishes adopted new immune strategies that compensate for the loss of B and T lymphocyte functions and enable them to resist infection by pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113
JournalLife
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Adaptive immune response
  • Allograft rejection
  • Anglerfishes
  • Histoincompatibility
  • Immune tolerance
  • Sexual parasitism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Paleontology
  • Space and Planetary Science

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