Aiptasia as a model to study metabolic diversity and specificity in cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbioses
Voolstra, Christian R.
KAUST DepartmentRed Sea Research Center (RSRC)
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AbstractThe symbiosis between cnidarian hosts and microalgae of the genus Symbiodinium provides the foundation of coral reefs in oligotrophic waters. Understanding the nutrient-exchange between these partners is key to identifying the fundamental mechanisms behind this symbiosis. However, deciphering the individual role of host and algal partners in the uptake and cycling of nutrients has proven difficult, given the endosymbiotic nature of this relationship. In this study, we highlight the advantages of the emerging model system Aiptasia to investigate the metabolic diversity and specificity of cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis. For this, we combined traditional measurements with nano-scale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) and stable isotope labeling to investigate carbon and nitrogen cycling both at the organismal scale and the cellular scale. Our results suggest that the individual nutrient assimilation by hosts and symbionts depends on the identity of their respective symbiotic partner. Further, δ13C enrichment patterns revealed that alterations in carbon fixation rates only affected carbon assimilation in the cnidarian host but not the algal symbiont, suggesting a 'selfish' character of this symbiotic association. Based on our findings, we identify new venues for future research regarding the role and regulation of nutrient exchange in the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis. In this context, the model system approach outlined in this study constitutes a powerful tool set to address these questions.
CitationRaedecker N, Raina J-B, Pernice M, Perna G, Guagliardo P, et al. (2017) Aiptasia as a model to study metabolic diversity and specificity in cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbioses. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/223933.
SponsorsThe authors would like to thank Dr. Rachid Sougrat and Ptissam Bergam from the KAUST imaging core lab for their help with sample preparation. CRV and NR acknowledge funding from the KAUST AIMS CPF partnership funding. Further, research in this publication was supported by KAUST baseline research funds to CRV. The authors would like to acknowledge the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility, AuScope, the Science and Industry Endowment Fund, and the State Government of Western Australian for contributing to the Ion Probe Facility at the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis at the University of Western Australia. JBR was supported by Australian Research Council fellowship DE160100636.
PublisherCold Spring Harbor Laboratory
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