Serum complement activity in the three-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum)

Document Type


Publication Date



Some animals routinely endure serious injuries from predators or during intraspecific territorial conflicts. Such is the case for Amphiuma tridactylum, an aquatic salamander that lives in an environment rich in potentially infectious microbes, apparently with rare or no pathogenic infection. Some vertebrates possess innate immune mechanisms, but whether this is the case for Amphiuma is unknown. To assess this potential, plasma from 19 A. tridactylum was pooled and used for characterisation of serum complement activity. The ability of A. tridactylum plasma to hemolyse unsensitised sheep red blood cells (SRBCs) was titer-dependent, with low activity observed even at high plasma titers. The kinetic characterisation of SRBC hemolysis revealed that significant activity could be measured within 10min of incubation, and maximal activity occurred within 60min. The SRBC hemolysis by A. tridactylum plasma was also temperature-dependent, with maximal activity at 30°C. In addition, this activity was sensitive to mild heat treatment, with 96% of activity inhibited by incubation at 56°C for 30min. The SRBC hemolysis could also be inactivated by pretreatment of the plasma with proteases, indicating that this activity was protein dependent. The activity required divalent metals ions, with activity inhibited by EDTA, citrate, or phosphate. However, the chelator-inhibited activity could be restored by the addition of excess Ca2+ or Mg2+, but not Cu2+ or Ba2+, indicating specificity of the divalent metal ion requirement. The sensitivity to heat, proteases, and divalent metal ion chelators strongly suggests that A. tridactylum plasma-mediated hemolysis of SRBCs is mediated by the serum complement system of proteins. © 2010.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.