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Presence and localization of antithrombin and its regulation after acute lipopolysaccharide exposure in amphioxus, with implications for the origin of vertebrate liver

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Antithrombin (AT), which is mainly synthesized in the liver, is an acute-phase plasma protein in mammalian species. Here, we demonstrated that sheep anti-human AT antibody cross-reacted with the humoral fluids in amphioxus Branchiostoma belcheri tsingtauense as well as human serum. The concentration of AT in the humoral fluids in amphioxus decreased slightly at first and then increased after the acute challenge with lipopolysaccharide, while the level of total proteins remained unchanged. These suggest the presence of the same acute-phase response pattern in amphioxus, as observed in some mammalian species. Immunohistochemically, AT was localized in the hepatic diverticulum. It is clear that the hepatic diverticulum in amphioxus is homologous to the vertebrate liver with respect to AT synthesis. This lends support to the hypothesis originally suggested by Müller that the vertebrate liver evolved from the hepatic diverticulum of an amphioxus-like ancestor during early chordate evolution.

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Correspondence to Shicui Zhang.

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This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC; 30470203) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of China.

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Liang, Y., Zhang, S., Lun, L. et al. Presence and localization of antithrombin and its regulation after acute lipopolysaccharide exposure in amphioxus, with implications for the origin of vertebrate liver. Cell Tissue Res 323, 537–541 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00441-005-0088-x

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  • Branchiostoma
  • belcheri tsing tauense (Acrania)
  • Antithrombin
  • Hepatic diverticulum
  • Localization
  • Amphioxus