Supplementary Material for: High Innate Immune Specificity through Diversified C-Type Lectin-Like Domain Proteins in Invertebrates

A key question in current immunity research is how the innate immune system can generate high levels of specificity. Evidence is accumulating that invertebrates, which exclusively rely on innate defense mechanisms, can differentiate between pathogens on the species and even strain level. In this review, we identify and discuss the particular potential of C-type lectin-like domain (CTLD) proteins to generate high immune specificity. Whilst several CTLD proteins are known to act as pattern recognition receptors in the vertebrate innate immune system, the exact role of CTLD proteins in invertebrate immunity is much less understood. We show that CTLD genes are highly abundant in most metazoan genomes and summarize the current state of knowledge on CTLD protein function in insect, crustacean and nematode immune systems. We then demonstrate extreme CTLD gene diversification in the genomes of <i>Caenorhabditis </i>nematodes and provide an update of data from CTLD gene function studies in <i>C. elegans</i>, which indicate that the diversity of CTLD genes could contribute to immune specificity. In spite of recent achievements, the exact functions of the diversified invertebrate CTLD genes are still largely unknown. Our review therefore specifically discusses promising research approaches to rectify this knowledge gap.