The biological diversity of molluscs and their adaptation to highly diverse environments offer a unique opportunity for studying the evolution of the innate immune system in invertebrates. This review provides an updated account about the progresses made over the past few years in the study of the molecular players involved in the recognition of pathogen associated molecular patters (PAMPs), in the transduction of immune signaling and in the elimination of potentially pathogenic microbes in gastropod and bivalve molluscs. A major focus will be put on the differences and peculiarities of the molecular immune system of the two major molluscan classes, which have developed specific adaptations to cope with diverse living environments, pathogenic and non-pathogenic microbes over the course of several hundred million years of independent evolution. Intriguing but still poorly understood aspects, such as antiviral response and immune priming, will be also explored, highlighting the present challenges and opportunities connected to the application of modern genomics techniques to the study of the immune system in these fascinating metazoans.
M. Gerdol, ISJ – Invertebrate Survival Journal, ISJ 14: 103-118, 2017, 16 pages