To identify some of the genes expressed in LPS-activated coelomocytes, we sequenced randomly chosen clones from a directionally constructed cDNA library to produce a set of expressed sequence tags (ESTs). Deduced amino acid sequences from 307 ESTs were compared with known protein sequences in GenBank, and significant matches to approximately 30% of the clones were identified. Eighty-nine clones matched to 55 different proteins, including several putative immune effector proteins. In this work, we show the first identification of an invertebrate homologue of a vertebrate C component. Another EST matches to several short consensus repeats that are characteristic of a variety of proteins, including CR/regulatory proteins and clotting factors. Additional putative immune effector genes include 1) a Kazal-type protease inhibitor that may function to inactivate bacterial proteases, 2) a C-type lectin similar to echinoidin, and 3) a serine protease with similarities to thrombin, elastase, haptoglobin, and plasmin. Other EST categories include 1) cell surface proteins and receptors, 2) proteins involved in signaling systems, 3) lysosomal and secreted proteins, 4) cytoskeletal and cytoskeletal modifying proteins, 5) general cell function proteins, 6) proteins with unknown function, and 7) ESTs without significant matches, 25 with open reading frames. Many of the ESTs identified in this study represent the types of genes expected to be used in lower deuterostome immune functions.