Is there a change in expression of apoptosis and autophagy genes in Aiptasia sp. after thermal stress? Public

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/honors_college_theses/9g54xk69f

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  • Corals form the foundation for coral reef ecosystems and contain symbiotic dinoflagellates which greatly contribute to reef primary productivity. Loss of dinoflagellates from animal (host) cells results in cnidarian bleaching which leads to decreased coral fitness, and reef deterioration. Elevated temperature, caused by global warming, is the primary environmental stressor that causes bleaching, but the cellular mechanisms leading to the collapse of the symbiosis are not fully understood. Two cellular pathways hypothesized to result in bleaching are host cell apoptosis and autophagy. To determine if there are changes in expression of apoptosis- and autophagy-specific genes during thermal stress, quantitative PCR was performed on cDNA of the symbiotic anemone Aiptasia sp. subjected to elevated temperatures. Acasp and LC3, part of the apoptosis and autophagy cascades, respectively, were used as markers. There was no change in acasp expression with elevated temperature, a result consistent with vertebrate systems. LC3 expression had a downward trend with increasing temperature, indicating that autophagy may not be the dominant bleaching mechanism. Additionally, the function of Aiptasia LC3 was compared with human LC3. Mouse cells transfected with Aiptasia LC3 displayed similar autophagosome localization patterns to those containing human LC3, suggesting the presence of autophagic machinery in Aiptasia.
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