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Free Radic Biol Med. 2004 Oct 15;37(8):1170-81.

Molecular characterization of two CuZn-superoxide dismutases in a sea anemone.

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UMR 1112 UNSA-INRA ROSE, Nice-Sophia Antipolis University, Parc Valrose, BP 71, F-06108 Nice Cedex 02, France.


Cnidarians living in symbiosis with photosynthetic cells--called zooxanthellae--are submitted to high oxygen levels generated by photosynthesis. To cope with this hyperoxic state, symbiotic cnidarians present a high diversity of superoxide dismutases (SOD) isoforms. To understand better the mechanism of resistance of cnidarian hosts to hyperoxia, we studied copper- and zinc-containing SOD (CuZnSOD) from Anemonia viridis, a temperate symbiotic sea anemone. We cloned two CuZnSOD genes that we call AvCuZnSODa and AvCuZnSODb. Their molecular analysis suggests that the AvCuZnSODa transcript encodes an extracellular form of CuZnSOD, whereas the AvCuZnSODb transcript encodes an intracellular form. Using in situ hybridization, we showed that both AvCuZnSODa and AvCuZnSODb transcripts are expressed in the endodermal and ectodermal cells of the sea anemone, but not in the zooxanthellae. The genomic flanking sequences of AvCuZnSODa and AvCuZnSODb revealed different putative binding sites for transcription factors, suggesting different modes of regulation for the two genes. This study represents a first step in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of host animal resistance to permanent hyperoxia status resulting from the photosynthetic symbiosis. Moreover, AvCuZnSODa and AvCuZnSODb are the first SODs cloned from a diploblastic animal, contributing to the evolutionary understanding of SODs.

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