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Differential susceptibility to oxidative stress of two scleractinian corals: antioxidant functioning of mycosporine-glycine.

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Department of Chemistry, Biology and Marine Science, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan.


This study examined the importance of mycosporine-glycine (Myc-Gly) as a functional antioxidant in the thermal-stress susceptibility of two scleractinian corals, Platygyra ryukyuensis and Stylophora pistillata. Photochemical efficiency of PSII (F(v)/F(m)), activity of antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT), and composition and abundance of mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) in the coral tissue and in symbiotic zooxanthellae were analyzed during 12-h exposure to high temperature (33 degrees C). After 6- and 12-h exposures at 33 degrees C, S. pistillata showed a significantly more pronounced decline in F(v)/F(m) compared to P. ryukyuensis. A 6-h exposure at 33 degrees C induced a significant increase in the activities of SOD and CAT in both host and zooxanthellae components of S. pistillata while in P. ryukyuensis a significant increase was observed only in the CAT activity of zooxanthellae. After 12-h exposure, the SOD activity of P. ryukyuensis was unaffected in the coral tissue but slightly increased in zooxanthellae, whereas the CAT activity in the coral tissue showed a 2.5-fold increase. The total activity of antioxidant enzymes was significantly higher in S. pistillata than in P. ryukyuensis, suggesting that P. ryukyuensis is less sensitive to oxidative stress than S. pistillata. This differential susceptibility of the corals is consistent with a 20-fold higher initial concentration of Myc-Gly in P. ryukyuensis compared to S. pistillata. In the coral tissue and zooxanthellae of both species investigated, the first 6 h of exposure to thermal stress induced a pronounced reduction in the abundance of Myc-Gly but not in other MAAs. When exposure was prolonged to 12 h, the Myc-Gly pool continued to decrease in P. ryukyuensis and was completely depleted in S. pistillata. The delay in the onset of oxidative stress in P. ryukyuensis and the dramatic increase in the activities of the antioxidant enzymes in S. pistillata, which contains low concentrations of Myc-Gly suggest that Myc-Gly provides rapid protection against oxidative stress before the antioxidant enzymes are induced. These findings strongly suggest that Myc-Gly is functioning as a biological antioxidant in the coral tissue and zooxanthellae and demonstrate its importance in the survival of reef-building corals under thermal stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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