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Heat stress induces different forms of cell death in sea anemones and their endosymbiotic algae depending on temperature and duration

Lookup NU author(s): Simon Dunn, Dr Jeremy Thomason, Dr Martin Le Tissier, Professor John Bythell

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Abstract

Bleaching of reef building corals and other symbiotic cnidarians due to the loss of their dinoflagellate algal symbionts (=zooxanthellae), and/or their photosynthetic pigments, is a common sign of environmental stress. Mass bleaching events are becoming an increasingly important cause of mortality and reef degradation on a global scale, linked by many to global climate change. However, the cellular mechanisms of stress-induced bleaching remain largely unresolved. In this study, the frequency of apoptosis-like and necrosis-like cell death was determined in the symbiotic sea anemone Aiptasia sp. using criteria that had previously been validated for this symbiosis as indicators of programmed cell death (PCD) and necrosis. Results indicate that PCD and necrosis occur simultaneously in both host tissues and zooxanthellae subject to environmentally relevant doses of heat stress. Frequency of PCD in the anemone endoderm increased within minutes of treatment. Peak rates of apoptosis-like cell death in the host were coincident with the timing of loss of zooxanthellae during bleaching. The proportion of apoptosis-like host cells subsequently declined while cell necrosis increased. In the zooxanthellae, both apoptosis-like and necrosis-like activity increased throughout the duration of the experiment (6 days), dependent on temperature dose. A stress-mediated PCD pathway is an important part of the thermal stress response in the sea anemone symbiosis and this study suggests that PCD may play different roles in different components of the symbiosis during bleaching. © 2004 Nature Publishing Group All rights reserved.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Dunn SR, Thomason JC, Le Tissier MDA, Bythell JC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cell Death and Differentiation

Year: 2004

Volume: 11

Issue: 11

Pages: 1213-1222

Print publication date: 01/11/2004

ISSN (print): 1350-9047

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5403

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.cdd.4401484

DOI: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4401484

PubMed id: 15286684


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