Gene expression plasticity and frontloading promote thermotolerance in Pocillopora corals

Type Article
Date 2022-02-02
Language English
Author(s) Brener-Raffalli Kelly1, Vidal Dupiol JeremieORCID2, Adjeroud Mehdi3, 4, Rey Olivier1, Romans Pascal5, Bonhomme François6, Pratlong Marine7, 8, Haguenauer Anne9, Pillot Remi5, Feuillassier Lionel5, Claereboudt Michel10, Magalon Helene3, 4, Gélin Pauline3, 4, Pontarotti Pierre11, 12, Aurelle Didier8, 9, 13, Mitta GuillaumeORCID1, 14, Toulza Eve1
Affiliation(s) 1 : IHPE, Univ. Montpellier, CNRS, Ifremer, Univ. Perpignan via Domitia, Perpignan , France
2 : IHPE, Univ. Montpellier, CNRS, Ifremer, Univ. Perpignan via Domitia, Montpellier, France
3 : ENTROPIE, IRD, Université de la Réunion, CNRS, IFREMER, Université de la Nouvelle-Calédonie, Perpignan, France
4 : PSL Université Paris, USR 3278 CRIOBE EPHE-UPVD-CNRS, Perpignan, France
5 : Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls, Sorbonne Université-CNRS, FR3724, Avenue Pierre Fabre, 66650 Banyuls-sur-Mer, France
6 : Institut des Sciences de l’Évolution, Univ. Montpellier, CNRS, IRD, EPHE, Montpellier, France
7 : Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, Centrale Marseille, I2M, Marseille, France, Equipe Evolution Biologique et Modélisation, Marseille, France
8 : Aix Marseille Univ, Université de Toulon, CNRS, IRD, MIO, Marseille, France
9 : Aix-Marseille Université, Avignon Université, CNRS, IRD, IMBE, Marseille, France
10 : Department of Marine Science and Fisheries, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Khod, 123, Sultanate of Oman
11 : Aix Marseille Univ, IRD, APHM, Microbe, Evolution, PHylogénie, Infection, IHU Méditerranée Infection, Marseille France. Evolutionary Biology team, France
12 : CNRS, SNC5039, france
13 : Institut de Systématique, Evolution, Biodiversité (ISYEB),Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, CNRS, Sorbonne Université, EPHE, 57 rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris, France
14 : Univ Polynesie Francaise, ILM, IRD, Ifremer, F-98719 Tahiti, French Polynesia, France
Source Peer Community Journal. Section: Ecology (2804-3871) (Centre Mersenne), 2022-02-02 , Vol. 2 , P. e13 (26p.)
DOI 10.24072/pcjournal.79

Ecosystems worldwide are suffering from climate change. Coral reef ecosystems are globally threatened by increasing sea surface temperatures. However, gene expression plasticity provides the potential for organisms to respond rapidly and effectively to environmental changes, and would be favored in variable environments. In this study, we investigated the thermal stress response in Pocillopora coral colonies from two contrasting environments by exposing them to heat stress. We compared the physiological state, bacterial and Symbiodiniaceae communities (using 16S and ITS2 metabarcoding), and gene expression levels (using RNA-Seq) between control conditions and heat stress (the temperature just below the first signs of compromised health). Colonies from both thermal regimes remained apparently normal and presented open and colored polyps during heat stress, with no change in bacterial and Symbiodiniaceae community composition. In contrast, they differed in their transcriptomic responses. The colonies from Oman displayed a more plastic transcriptome, but some genes had a higher basal expression level (frontloading) compared to the less thermotolerant colonies from New Caledonia. In terms of biological functions, we observed an increase in the expression of stress response genes (including induction of tumor necrosis factor receptors, heat shock proteins, and detoxification of reactive oxygen species), together with a decrease in the expression of genes involved in morpho-anatomical functions. Gene regulation (transcription factors, mobile elements, histone modifications and DNA methylation) appeared to be overrepresented in the Oman colonies, indicating possible epigenetic regulation. These results show that transcriptomic plasticity and frontloading can be co-occurring processes in corals confronted with highly variable thermal regimes.

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Brener-Raffalli Kelly, Vidal Dupiol Jeremie, Adjeroud Mehdi, Rey Olivier, Romans Pascal, Bonhomme François, Pratlong Marine, Haguenauer Anne, Pillot Remi, Feuillassier Lionel, Claereboudt Michel, Magalon Helene, Gélin Pauline, Pontarotti Pierre, Aurelle Didier, Mitta Guillaume, Toulza Eve (2022). Gene expression plasticity and frontloading promote thermotolerance in Pocillopora corals. Peer Community Journal. Section: Ecology, 2, e13 (26p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :