The coral immune response facilitates protection against microbes during tissue regeneration

van de Water, A.J.M., Ainsworth, Tracy D., Leggat, William, Bourne, David G., Willis, Bette L., and Van Oppen, Madeleine J.H. (2015) The coral immune response facilitates protection against microbes during tissue regeneration. Molecular Ecology, 24 (13). pp. 3390-3404.

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Increasing physical damage on coral reefs from predation, storms and anthropogenic disturbances highlights the need to understand the impact of injury on the coral immune system. In this study, we examined the regulation of the coral immune response over 10days following physical trauma artificially inflicted on insitu colonies of the coral Acropora aspera, simultaneously with bacterial colonization of the lesions. Corals responded to injury by increasing the expression of immune system-related genes involved in the Toll-like and NOD-like receptor signalling pathways and the lectin-complement system in three phases (<2, 4 and 10days post-injury). Phenoloxidase activity was also significantly upregulated in two phases (<3 and 10days post-injury), as were levels of non-fluorescent chromoprotein. In addition, green fluorescent protein expression was upregulated in response to injury from 4days post-injury, while cyan fluorescent protein expression was reduced. No shifts in the composition of coral-associated bacterial communities were evident following injury based on 16S rRNA gene amplicon pyrosequencing. Bacteria-specific fluorescence insitu hybridization also showed no evidence of bacterial colonization of the wound or regenerating tissues. Coral tissues showed near-complete regeneration of lesions within 10days. This study demonstrates that corals exhibit immune responses that support rapid recovery following physical injury, maintain coral microbial homeostasis and prevent bacterial infestation that may compromise coral fitness.

Item ID: 41792
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-294X
Keywords: bacteria, coral, gene expression, immunity, injury
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, AIMS@JCU
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 18:15
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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