Engineering Strategies to Decode and Enhance the Genomes of Coral Symbionts
AuthorsLevin, Rachel A.
Voolstra, Christian R.
Steinberg, Peter D.
Suggett, David J.
van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.
KAUST DepartmentBiological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division
Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractElevated sea surface temperatures from a severe and prolonged El Niño event (2014–2016) fueled by climate change have resulted in mass coral bleaching (loss of dinoflagellate photosymbionts, Symbiodinium spp., from coral tissues) and subsequent coral mortality, devastating reefs worldwide. Genetic variation within and between Symbiodinium species strongly influences the bleaching tolerance of corals, thus recent papers have called for genetic engineering of Symbiodinium to elucidate the genetic basis of bleaching-relevant Symbiodinium traits. However, while Symbiodinium has been intensively studied for over 50 years, genetic transformation of Symbiodinium has seen little success likely due to the large evolutionary divergence between Symbiodinium and other model eukaryotes rendering standard transformation systems incompatible. Here, we integrate the growing wealth of Symbiodinium next-generation sequencing data to design tailored genetic engineering strategies. Specifically, we develop a testable expression construct model that incorporates endogenous Symbiodinium promoters, terminators, and genes of interest, as well as an internal ribosomal entry site from a Symbiodinium virus. Furthermore, we assess the potential for CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing through new analyses of the three currently available Symbiodinium genomes. Finally, we discuss how genetic engineering could be applied to enhance the stress tolerance of Symbiodinium, and in turn, coral reefs.
CitationLevin RA, Voolstra CR, Agrawal S, Steinberg PD, Suggett DJ, et al. (2017) Engineering Strategies to Decode and Enhance the Genomes of Coral Symbionts. Frontiers in Microbiology 8. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2017.01220.
SponsorsFunding from the University of New South Wales and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) supported the analyses presented here.
PublisherFrontiers Media SA
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
- Change in algal symbiont communities after bleaching, not prior heat exposure, increases heat tolerance of reef corals.
- Authors: Silverstein RN, Cunning R, Baker AC
- Issue date: 2015 Jan
- Spatial and temporal genetic structure of Symbiodinium populations within a common reef-building coral on the Great Barrier Reef.
- Authors: Howells EJ, Willis BL, Bay LK, van Oppen MJ
- Issue date: 2013 Jul
- Identity and diversity of coral endosymbionts (zooxanthellae) from three Palauan reefs with contrasting bleaching, temperature and shading histories.
- Authors: Fabricius KE, Mieog JC, Colin PL, Idip D, van Oppen MJ
- Issue date: 2004 Aug
- Skeletal light-scattering accelerates bleaching response in reef-building corals.
- Authors: Swain TD, DuBois E, Gomes A, Stoyneva VP, Radosevich AJ, Henss J, Wagner ME, Derbas J, Grooms HW, Velazquez EM, Traub J, Kennedy BJ, Grigorescu AA, Westneat MW, Sanborn K, Levine S, Schick M, Parsons G, Biggs BC, Rogers JD, Backman V, Marcelino LA
- Issue date: 2016 Mar 21
- <i>In vivo</i> Microscale Measurements of Light and Photosynthesis during Coral Bleaching: Evidence for the Optical Feedback Loop?
- Authors: Wangpraseurt D, Holm JB, Larkum AW, Pernice M, Ralph PJ, Suggett DJ, Kühl M
- Issue date: 2017