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Insights on the genetic repertoire of the coral Mussismilia braziliensis endosymbiont Symbiodinium

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Reef-building corals form a symbiotic association with photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the family Symbiodiniaceae. This symbiosis is crucial for the maintenance of coral reefs. In this work, we evaluate the effect of light conditions on the transcriptomic response of Symbiodinium CCMR0100 (ITS2 type A4), isolated from the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean endemic Mussismilia braziliensis. We obtained a total of 36,224 transcripts (N50 = 1007 bases, mean GC = 55.7%; ~25 Gb of assembled bases). We observed ecologically relevant transcripts encoding i. the complete antioxidant enzymatic system, ii. the recently described algal dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) lyase, and iii. The Mycosporine-like aminoacids (MAA) biosynthesis pathway. Cultures maintained in dark and light conditions yielded different transcriptomic profiles, and 48 transcripts were differentially expressed between these treatments. Expression of cytochrome P450 was inhibited by light, suggesting that endoplasmic reticulum monooxygenase activity might play a role in light-independent coral bleaching. Light conditions also triggered the induction of transcripts associated to chromatin condensation and mitosis, consistent with the light dependent progression of Symbiodiniaceae cell cycle. The repression of transcripts associated to the phosphatidylinositol (PI) signaling pathwaysuggests this pathway shall be related to light-induced morphological changes in Symbiodiniaceae cell.

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This work was supported by CNPq, CAPES, and FAPERJ. AWSL acknowledges the financial support from Science Without Borders program from CNPQ, process 232399/2014–0. MM was supported by NSF OCE 1442206 and OCE 1642311.

Author information

AWSL conceived the study design, RNA extractions, the bioinformatic analysis and drafted the manuscript.

LSO and LL performed the transcriptome sequencing and prepared the MiSeq sequencing libraries.

JT participated in the discussion of the results and the draft manuscript, and the acquisition of funding.

MM, TV, and CLT participated in the discussion of the results and the draft manuscript.

FLT participated in the acquisition of funding, conceived the study design, discussion of the results and draft of the manuscript.

All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Correspondence to Arthur W. Silva Lima or Fabiano L. Thompson.

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Silva Lima, A.W., Leomil, L., Oliveira, L. et al. Insights on the genetic repertoire of the coral Mussismilia braziliensis endosymbiont Symbiodinium. Symbiosis (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13199-020-00664-1

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  • Symbiodiniaceae
  • Symbiodinium
  • Transcriptome
  • Mycosporine-like aminoacids (MAA)
  • Differential expression