Onset of symbiosis in a cnidarian-dinoflagellate association Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/xd07gx28d

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  • Scleractinian corals, like many other cnidarians, engage in intracellular symbiosis with dinoflagellates belonging to the genus Symbiodinium. This association makes invaluable structural and energetic contributions to the marine environment and to the coral reef ecosystem in particular. While many aspects of the cnidarian-dinoflagellate relationship have been well studied, nothing is known about the molecular and biochemical mechanisms of recognition and specificity between the coral and algal partners. This thesis focuses upon these aspects of the association during the onset of symbiosis (infection) between the scleractinian coral Fun gia scutaria and the dinoflagellate, Symbiodinium type Cl f Chapter 2 examines a known 'symbiosis" gene for its role during the onset of symbiosis. In other cnidarian-dinoflagellate associations, carbonic anhydrase (CA) has been shown to function within the symbiosis by supplying the dinoflagellate with CO2 for photosynthesis. This chapter presents bioinformatic analyses of two CA sequences isolated from F. scutaria larvae, as well as the expression pattern of CA over the course of infection. Though a "symbiosis' CA isoform was recovered from adult F. scularia, all attempts to do so in the larvae failed; the sequences isolated from the larvae are more similar to other forms of the enzyme. Furthermore, expression of these larval CA isoforms did not vary significantly over the course of infection. Chapters 3 and 4 present attempts to uncover novel biochemical and molecular players in the onset of this symbiosis. The soluble proteomes ofF. scutaria symbiotic and aposymbiotic larvae are compared in chapter 3, using 2-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The protein profiles proved remarkably similar between infection states. Chapter 4 examines differences between infection states on a molecular level. A eDNA plasmid library, enriched for symbiotic larval ESTs, was constructed using subtractive hybridization. Library screening revealed differences in expression between symbiotic and aposymbiotic larvae. Bioinformatic analyses of some of the differential ESTs are presented; no homologues could be identified in the sequence databases. Though unidentified changes in gene expression are evident in newly symbiotic larvae, few biochemical changes, such as the implementation of the carbon supply mechanism, seem to be occurring at this stage of the symbiosis.
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