Molecular assessment of the effect of light and heterotrophy in the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata

Abstract : Corals acquire nutrients via the transfer of photosynthates by their endo-symbionts (autotrophy), or via zooplankton predation by the animal (heterotrophy). During stress events, corals lose their endosymbionts, and undergo starvation, unless they increase their heterotrophic capacities. Molecular mechanisms by which heterotrophy sustains metabolism in stressed corals remain elusive. Here for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, we identified specific genes expressed in heterotrophically fed and unfed colonies of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata, maintained under normal and light-stress conditions. Physiological parameters and gene expression profiling demonstrated that fed corals better resisted stress than unfed ones by exhibiting less oxidative damage and protein degradation. Processes affected in light-stressed unfed corals (HLU), were related to energy and metabolite supply, carbohydrate biosynthesis, ion and nutrient transport, oxidative stress, Ca 2þ homeostasis, metabolism and calcification (carbonic anhydrases, calcium-transporting ATPase, bone morphogenetic proteins). Two genes (cp2u1 and cp1a2), which belong to the cytochrome P450 superfamily, were also upregu-lated 249 and 10 times, respectively, in HLU corals. In contrast, few of these processes were affected in light-stressed fed corals (HLF) because feeding supplied antioxidants and energetic molecules, which help repair oxidative damage. Altogether, these results show that heterotrophy helps prevent the cascade of metabolic problems downstream of oxidative stress.
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Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2016, 283, pp.1829. 〈10.1098/rspb.2015.3025〉
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Oren Levy, Sarit Karako-Lampert, Hiba Waldman Ben-Asher, Didier Zoccola, Gilles Pagès, et al.. Molecular assessment of the effect of light and heterotrophy in the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2016, 283, pp.1829. 〈10.1098/rspb.2015.3025〉. 〈inserm-01310221〉

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