Research Topic

Innate immunity in Early Diverging Metazoans

About this Research Topic

The non-bilaterian phyla (Cnidaria, Ctenophora, Porifera, and Placozoa) comprise early diverging lineages whose physiology, ecology, and development are critically important to understanding metazoan evolution. However, little is known about their innate immune system because most current invertebrate innate immune research focuses on bilaterians. Identifying the function and pathways of non-bilaterian innate immunity is an emerging field that is essential for our understanding of the evolution of innate immunity. It is also crucial for our understanding of the capacity of survival for non-bilaterians in the face of climate change and disease.

The current knowledge gaps in non-bilaterian innate immunity are focused on 1) determining immune components, functions, and mechanisms, 2) identifying species-specific immune components and functions, 3) understanding the intersection of innate immunity and developmental process, and 4) connecting the interaction of the hosts with symbiotic and/or pathogenic microbial communities. We are at an exciting emerging phase in non-bilaterian immunity research and therefore addressing these gaps will be important for future innate immunity and health research. The research done in this area will lead to the discovery of novel pathways, proteins, and functions that will broaden our current understanding of innate immunity and thus push this field forward.

This Research Topic aims to collate the current knowledge on non-bilaterian innate immunity, by providing a comprehensive overview of a wide range of studies from cellular function to eco-immunity at scales spanning gene, protein, cell, and whole organism. We hope to address the current knowledge gaps in non-bilaterian innate immune systems including characterization and function of specific immune genes, the relationship of physiology with immunity, host/microbial interactions, immune trade-offs, and how development and immunity are connected. We welcome the submission of Original Research, Methods, Perspective, Mini-Review, and Review articles focusing on comparative immunology of early metazoans, including the following subtopics:

● Development and functional physiology of immune components
● Interaction of microbes and innate immune system
● Antiviral/Antibacterial immune response
● Innate immune responses and the environment
● Immune memory/priming
● Phylogenetics of immunity
● Wound healing and immunity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The non-bilaterian phyla (Cnidaria, Ctenophora, Porifera, and Placozoa) comprise early diverging lineages whose physiology, ecology, and development are critically important to understanding metazoan evolution. However, little is known about their innate immune system because most current invertebrate innate immune research focuses on bilaterians. Identifying the function and pathways of non-bilaterian innate immunity is an emerging field that is essential for our understanding of the evolution of innate immunity. It is also crucial for our understanding of the capacity of survival for non-bilaterians in the face of climate change and disease.

The current knowledge gaps in non-bilaterian innate immunity are focused on 1) determining immune components, functions, and mechanisms, 2) identifying species-specific immune components and functions, 3) understanding the intersection of innate immunity and developmental process, and 4) connecting the interaction of the hosts with symbiotic and/or pathogenic microbial communities. We are at an exciting emerging phase in non-bilaterian immunity research and therefore addressing these gaps will be important for future innate immunity and health research. The research done in this area will lead to the discovery of novel pathways, proteins, and functions that will broaden our current understanding of innate immunity and thus push this field forward.

This Research Topic aims to collate the current knowledge on non-bilaterian innate immunity, by providing a comprehensive overview of a wide range of studies from cellular function to eco-immunity at scales spanning gene, protein, cell, and whole organism. We hope to address the current knowledge gaps in non-bilaterian innate immune systems including characterization and function of specific immune genes, the relationship of physiology with immunity, host/microbial interactions, immune trade-offs, and how development and immunity are connected. We welcome the submission of Original Research, Methods, Perspective, Mini-Review, and Review articles focusing on comparative immunology of early metazoans, including the following subtopics:

● Development and functional physiology of immune components
● Interaction of microbes and innate immune system
● Antiviral/Antibacterial immune response
● Innate immune responses and the environment
● Immune memory/priming
● Phylogenetics of immunity
● Wound healing and immunity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 July 2020 Abstract
20 December 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 July 2020 Abstract
20 December 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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