Gene correlation networks reveal the transcriptomic response to elevated nitrogen in a photosynthetic sponge

Luter, Heidi M., Kenkel, Carly D., Terzin, Marko, Peirce, Tyler, Laffy, Patrick W., Gibb, Karen, and Webster, Nicole S. (2020) Gene correlation networks reveal the transcriptomic response to elevated nitrogen in a photosynthetic sponge. Molecular Ecology, 29 (8). pp. 1452-1462.

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Abstract

Nutrient levels in coastal environments have been increasing globally due to elevated inputs of sewage and terrigenous sediments carrying fertilizers. Yet, despite their immense filtering capacities, marine sponges appear to be less affected by elevated nutrients than sympatric benthic organisms, such as corals. While the molecular-level stress response of sponges to elevated seawater temperatures and other toxicants has been defined, this study represents the first global gene expression analysis of how sponges respond to elevated nitrogen. Gene correlation network analysis revealed that sponge gene modules, coded by colours, became either highly upregulated (Blue) or downregulated (Turquoise, Black, Brown) as nitrogen treatment levels increased. Gene Ontology enrichment analysis of the different modules revealed genes involved in cell signalling, immune response and flagella motility were affected by increasing nitrogen levels. Notably, a decrease in the regulation of NF-kappaB signalling and an increase in protein degradation was identified, which is comparable to metabolic pathways associated with the sponge thermal stress response. These results highlight that Cymbastela stipitata can rapidly respond to changes in the external environment and identifies pathways that probably contribute to the ability of C. stipitata to tolerate short-term nutrient pulses.

Item ID: 62974
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-294X
Keywords: nutrients, sponge, Tag-Seq, transcriptomics
Copyright Information: © 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Funders: North Australia Marine Research Alliance (NAMRA), Charles Darwin Universtiy Faculty of Engineering, Health, Science and the Environment (CSU), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: NAMRA Postdoctoral Fellowship, Charles Darwin University Faculty of Engineering, Health, Science and the Environment project grant, Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT120100480)
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2020 07:43
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3105 Genetics > 310505 Gene expression (incl. microarray and other genome-wide approaches) @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
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