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Microb Ecol. 2012 Nov;64(4):1000-7. doi: 10.1007/s00248-012-0085-z. Epub 2012 Jul 6.

Variations in reactive oxygen release and antioxidant activity in multiple Symbiodinium types in response to elevated temperature.

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Department of Biology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019, USA.


As ocean temperatures rise, investigations into what the physiological effects will be on the symbiotic microalga Symbiodinium, and how these may play into the cnidarian bleaching response, have highlighted the contribution of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Previous studies have laid this groundwork using a limited number of Symbiodinium phylotypes, and so this study aims to expand this understanding by exploring the effects of sub-lethal elevated temperatures on the physiological response of seven genetically distinct types of Symbiodinium, including A1, B1, B2, C1, D, E1, and F2. The production of ROS (at 26 °C, 29 °C, 30 °C, and 31 °C) and activity of the antioxidants catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) (at 26 °C and 31 °C) were measured as indicators of sensitivity or tolerance to heat stress. Symbiodinium types B1 and C1 were the most thermally sensitive, with C1 producing the highest amount of ROS at elevated temperatures. Types A1 and F2 were tolerant, having no increase in ROS production, and were the only types to increase both CAT and SOD activity with temperature stress. Type B2 had decreased ROS production and elevation of CAT activity, while type E1 had decreased levels of ROS production at elevated temperatures. Type D was the only Symbiodinium type to remain unaffected by elevated temperatures. These results are consistent with previous findings of relative sensitivity or tolerance to elevated temperatures, specifically with regards to types A1, B1, and F2. The inclusion of types B2, C1, D, and E1 provides further new evidence of how types differ in their thermal responses, suggesting differing mechanisms exist in the Symbiodnium response to higher temperature and highlighting the importance of establishing symbiont identity when exploring the response of intact associations to this type of stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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