An ecoimmunological approach to study evolutionary and ancient links between coagulation, complement and Innate immunity

Coagulation, complement, and innate immunity are tightly interwoven and form an alliance that can be traced back to early eukaryotic evolution. Here we employed an ecoimmunological approach using Tissue Factor Pathway Inhibitor (TFPI)-1-derived peptides from the different classes of vertebrates (i.e. fish, reptile, bird, and mammals) and tested whether they can boost killing of various human bacterial pathogens in plasma. We found signs of species-specific conservation and diversification during evolution in these peptides that significantly impact their antibacterial activity. Though all peptides tested executed bactericidal activity in mammalian plasma (with the exception of rodents), no killing was observed in plasma from birds, reptiles, and fish, pointing to a crucial role for the classical pathway of the complement system. We also observed an interference of these peptides with the human intrinsic pathway of coagulation though, unlike complement activation, this mechanism appears not to be evolutionary conserved.