The Coral Symbiomics Lab
Red Sea Research Center
Division of Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering

Publications in 2012

Symbiodinium transcriptomes: Genome insights into the dinoflagellate symbionts of reef-building corals

​Bayer, T., M. Aranda, S. Sunagawa, L. K. Yum, M. K. DeSalvo, E. Lindquist, M. A. Coffroth, C. R. Voolstra, and M. Medina. "Symbiodinium Transcriptomes: Genome Insights into the Dinoflagellate Symbionts of Reef-Building Corals." PLOS ONE 7, no. 4 (2012).
Bayer T., Aranda M., Sunagawa S., Yum L. K., DeSalvo M. K., Lindquist E., Coffroth M. A., Voolstra C. R., Medina M.
Symbiodinium, transcriptome, transcription factors
2012
​Dinoflagellates are unicellular algae that are ubiquitously abundant in aquatic environments. Species of the genus Symbiodinium form symbiotic relationships with reef-building corals and other marine invertebrates. Despite their ecologic importance, little is known about the genetics of dinoflagellates in general and Symbiodinium in particular. Here, we used 454 sequencing to generate transcriptome data from two Symbiodinium species from different clades (clade A and clade B). With more than 56,000 assembled sequences per species, these data represent the largest transcriptomic resource for dinoflagellates to date. Our results corroborate previous observations that dinoflagellates possess the complete nucleosome machinery. We found a complete set of core histones as well as several H3 variants and H2A.Z in one species. Furthermore, transcriptome analysis points toward a low number of transcription factors in Symbiodinium spp. that also differ in the distribution of DNA-binding domains relative to other eukaryotes. In particular the cold shock domain was predominant among transcription factors. Additionally, we found a high number of antioxidative genes in comparison to non-symbiotic but evolutionary related organisms. These findings might be of relevance in the context of the role that Symbiodinium spp. play as coral symbionts. Our data represent the most comprehensive dinoflagellate EST data set to date. This study provides a comprehensive resource to further analyze the genetic makeup, metabolic capacities, and gene repertoire of Symbiodinium and dinoflagellates. Overall, our findings indicate that Symbiodinium possesses some unique characteristics, in particular the transcriptional regulation in Symbiodinium may differ from the currently known mechanisms of eukaryotic gene regulation.