About the news:
A new study has identified for the first time that specialised immune cells (phagocytic cells) exist in certain varieties of sea corals and anemones. These cells help understand how the organisms protect themselves from viruses and bacteria in the marine ecosystem.
Key findings of the study:
- The newly discovered phagocytic cells were identified in cauliflower coral and starlet sea anemone.
- At least three percent of the total cell population of these organisms are phagocytic that fight infections.
What is phagocytosis?
- Immune cells ingest and destroy foreign and damaged cells through a process called phagocytosis.
- The phagocyte may be a free-living one-celled organism, such as an amoeba, or one of the body cells, such as a white blood cell.
- In some forms of animal life, such as amoebas and sponges, phagocytosis is a means of feeding.
- In higher animals, phagocytosis is chiefly a defensive reaction against infection and invasion of the body by foreign substances (antigens).
Sea anemones are the marine, predatory animals of the order Actiniaria. They are sometimes called the ‘flowers of the sea’.
They are found from the tidal zone of all oceans to depths of more than 10,000 metres.