Integral light-harvesting complex expression in Symbiodinium within the coral Acropora aspera under thermal stress

Gierz, Sarah L., Gordon, Benjamin R., and Leggat, William (2016) Integral light-harvesting complex expression in Symbiodinium within the coral Acropora aspera under thermal stress. Scientific Reports, 6. 25081.

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Coral reef success is largely dependent on the symbiosis between coral hosts and dinoflagellate symbionts belonging to the genus Symbiodinium. Elevated temperatures can result in the expulsion of Symbiodinium or loss of their photosynthetic pigments and is known as coral bleaching. It has been postulated that the expression of light-harvesting protein complexes (LHCs), which bind chlorophylls (chl) and carotenoids, are important in photobleaching. This study explored the effect a sixteen-day thermal stress (increasing daily from 25–34 °C) on integral LHC (chlorophyll a-chlorophyll c2-peridinin protein complex (acpPC)) gene expression in Symbiodinium within the coral Acropora aspera. Thermal stress leads to a decrease in Symbiodinium photosynthetic efficiency by day eight, while symbiont density was significantly lower on day sixteen. Over this time period, the gene expression of five Symbiodinium acpPC genes was quantified. Three acpPC genes exhibited up-regulated expression when corals were exposed to temperatures above 31.5 °C (acpPCSym_1:1, day sixteen; acpPCSym_15, day twelve; and acpPCSym_18, day ten and day sixteen). In contrast, the expression of acpPCSym_5:1 and acpPCSym_10:1 was unchanged throughout the experiment. Interestingly, the three acpPC genes with increased expression cluster together in a phylogenetic analysis of light-harvesting complexes.

Item ID: 45220
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Keywords: Symbiodinium; Acropora aspera; quantitative PCR; light harvesting complexes
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Funders: Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (ARC CECRS), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC CECRS CE0561435, ARC Discovery grant DP130101421
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2016 04:33
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3101 Biochemistry and cell biology > 310199 Biochemistry and cell biology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3105 Genetics > 310505 Gene expression (incl. microarray and other genome-wide approaches) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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