Gene expression of a green fluorescent protein homolog as a host-specific biomarker of heat stress within a reef-building coral

Smith-Keune, C., and Dove, S. (2008) Gene expression of a green fluorescent protein homolog as a host-specific biomarker of heat stress within a reef-building coral. Marine Biotechnology, 10 (2). pp. 166-180.

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Recent incidences of mass coral bleaching indicate that major reef building corals are increasingly suffering thermal stress associated with climate-related temperature increases. The development of pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry has enabled rapid detection of the onset of thermal stress within coral algal symbionts, but sensitive biomarkers of thermal stress specific to the host coral have been slower to emerge. Differential display reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (DDRT-PCR) was used to produce fingerprints of gene expression for the reef-building coral Acropora millepora exposed to 33°C. Changes in the expression of 23 out of 399 putative genes occurred within 144 h. Down-regulation of one host-specific gene (AmA1a) occurred within just 6 h. Full-length sequencing revealed the product of this gene to be an all-protein chromatophore (green fluorescent protein [GFP]-homolog). RT-PCR revealed consistent down-regulation of this GFP-homolog for three replicate colonies within 6 h at both 32°C and 33°C but not at lower temperatures. Down-regulation of this host gene preceded significant decreases in the photosynthetic activity of photosystem II (dark-adapted Fv/Fm) of algal symbionts as measured by PAM fluorometry. Gene expression of host-specific genes such as GFP-homologs may therefore prove to be highly sensitive indicators for the onset of thermal stress within host coral cells.

Item ID: 10092
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: biomarkers; coral bleaching; differential display; gene expression; green fluorescent protein; host pigments; marine science
ISSN: 1436-2236
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2010 02:13
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060405 Gene Expression (incl Microarray and other genome-wide approaches) @ 80%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0606 Physiology > 060602 Animal Physiology - Cell @ 10%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0606 Physiology > 060604 Comparative Physiology @ 10%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 90%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 10%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 24
Downloads: Total: 1
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