Protists Within Corals: The Hidden Diversity

Type Article
Date 2018-08
Language English
Author(s) Clerissi Camille1, 4, Brunet Sebastien2, 3, Vidal-Dupiol JeremieORCID4, Adjeroud Mehdi5, 6, Lepage Pierre2, 3, Guillou Laure7, Escoubas Jean Michel1, Toulza Eve1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Montpellier, Univ Perpignan Via Domitia, CNRS, IHPE UMR 5244,IFREMER, Perpignan, France.
2 : McGill Univ, Montreal, PQ, Canada.
3 : Genome Quebec Innovat Ctr, Montreal, PQ, Canada.
4 : IFREMER, IHPE UMR 5244, Univ. Perpignan Via Domitia, CNRS, Univ. Montpellier, Montpellier, France
5 : Univ Perpignan, Inst Rech & Dev, UMR ENTROPIE 9220, Perpignan, France.
6 : Univ Perpignan, Lab Excellence CORAIL, Perpignan, France.
7 : Univ Pierre & Marie Curie Paris 6, Stn Biol Roscoff, Sorbonne Univ, CNRS,UMR 7144, Roscoff, France.
Source Frontiers In Microbiology (1664-302X) (Frontiers Media Sa), 2018-08 , Vol. 9 , P. 2043 (13p.)
DOI 10.3389/fmicb.2018.02043
WOS© Times Cited 19
Keyword(s) holobiont, protists, symbiosis, metabarcoding, blocking primer, Scleractinia, Pocillopora damicornis

Previous observations suggested that microbial communities contribute to coral health and the ecological resilience of coral reefs. However, most studies of coral microbiology focused on prokaryotes and the endosymbiotic algae Symbiodinium. In contrast, knowledge concerning diversity of other protists is still lacking, possibly due to methodological constraints. As most eukaryotic DNA in coral samples was derived from hosts, protist diversity was missed in metagenome analyses. To tackle this issue, we designed blocking primers for Scleractinia sequences amplified with two primer sets that targeted variable loops of the 18S rRNA gene (18SV1V2 and 18SV4). These blocking primers were used on environmental colonies of Pocillopora damicornis sensu lato from two regions with contrasting thermal regimes (Djibouti and New Caledonia). In addition to Symbiodinium clades A/C/D, Licnophora and unidentified coccidia genera were found in many samples. In particular, coccidian sequences formed a robust monophyletic clade with other protists identified in Agaricia, Favia, Montastraea, Mycetophyllia, Porites, and Siderastrea coral colonies. Moreover, Licnophora and coccidians had different distributions between the two geographic regions. A similar pattern was observed between Symbiodinium clades C and A/D. Although we were unable to identify factors responsible for this pattern, nor were we able to confirm that these taxa were closely associated with corals, we believe that these primer sets and the associated blocking primers offer new possibilities to describe the hidden diversity of protists within different coral species.

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