Marine Biotechnology

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 144–154 | Cite as

Cnidarian Primary Cell Culture as a Tool to Investigate the Effect of Thermal Stress at Cellular Level

  • P. Ventura
  • G. Toullec
  • C. Fricano
  • L. Chapron
  • V. Meunier
  • E. Röttinger
  • P. Furla
  • S. Barnay-Verdier
Original Article


In the context of global change, symbiotic cnidarians are largely affected by seawater temperature elevation leading to symbiosis breakdown. This process, also called bleaching, is triggered by the dysfunction of the symbiont photosystems causing an oxidative stress and cell death to both symbiont and host cells. In our study, we wanted to elucidate the intrinsic capacity of isolated animal cells to deal with thermal stress in the absence of symbiont. In that aim, we have characterized an animal primary cell culture form regenerating tentacles of the temperate sea anemone Anemonia viridis. We first compared the potential of whole tissue tentacle or separated epidermal or gastrodermal monolayers as tissue sources to settle animal cell cultures. Interestingly, only isolated cells extracted from whole tentacles allowed establishing a viable and proliferative primary cell culture throughout 31 days. The analysis of the expression of tissue-specific and pluripotency markers defined cultivated cells as differentiated cells with gastrodermal origin. The characterization of the animal primary cell culture allowed us to submit the obtained gastrodermal cells to hyperthermal stress (+ 5 and + 8 °C) during 1 and 7 days. Though cell viability was not affected at both hyperthermal stress conditions, cell growth drastically decreased. In addition, only a + 8 °C hyperthermia induced a transient increase of antioxidant defences at 1 day but no ubiquitin or carbonylation protein damages. These results demonstrated an intrinsic resistance of cnidarian gastrodermal cells to hyperthermal stress and then confirmed the role of symbionts in the hyperthermia sensitivity leading to bleaching.


Sea anemones Monolayers Cell differentiation Pluripotency Environmental stress Hyperthermia 



Authors greatly acknowledge Laura Hedon for her precious technical help and Thamilla Zamoum for RT-PCR technical advises. Authors also thank Maeva Gesson and Magali Mondin of the PRISM (Platform of Resources in Imaging and Scientific Microscopy, Institut de Biologie Valrose, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis), Matthieu Rouleau and Aldine Amiel for scientific discussions. Authors are also grateful to Brigitte Poderini, for sea anemone maintenance in aquaria. We thank the editor and the reviewers for their useful criticisms, which helped us improve the manuscript.

Funding Information

This work was supported by a doctoral fellowship from the French ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche (513-EDSFA021-2013) to PV and by research funding program from Université Nice Sophia Antipolis and Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur Region (MIRACLE project).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10126_2017_9791_MOESM1_ESM.docx (402 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 401 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Université Paris 06, Université Antilles, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, CNRS, Laboratoire Evolution Paris SeineInstitut de Biologie Paris Seine (EPS-IBPS)ParisFrance
  2. 2.Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Université Paris 06, CNRS, Laboratoire d’Ecogéochimie des Environnements Benthiques (LECOBObservatoire OcéanologiqueBanyuls/MerFrance
  3. 3.CNRS, INSERM, Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging (IRCAN)Université Côte d’AzurNiceFrance
  4. 4.UMR 7138 “Evolution Paris Seine”, Symbiose Marine TeamParisFrance

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