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

Aiptasia: a model cnidarian organism

The use of Aiptasia as a model organism for coral studies


Transcriptional and proteomic changes in Aiptasia in response to heat stress

As RNAseq is much easier (and cheaper) to perform in organisms, it is often assumed that the changes in protein levels would mirror that of the transcript levels. Our data seems to indicate otherwise; we are in the process of sifting through the data from RNAseq and whole proteome sequencing to come up with possible reasons for these observed differences.


Understanding the molecular mechanisms triggered at the onset of symbiosis

While there are several studies linking changes in the expression landscape when symbiosis occurs, epigenetic changes undergone by the host are far less well understood. We are in the process of understanding the changes in DNA methylation and histone modifications in the host via high throughput methods.

 â€‹Picture credit: Lucia Gastoldi (intern, alumni)

Tissue-level specificity of transcriptional expression

Symbiodinium reside in the endoderm of Aiptasia, while the ectoderm is involved in exchange of materials with the external environment. To discern transcriptional differences between these tissue layers, we optimised a protocol to separate these two tissue layers via laser microdissection. We successfully obtained RNA of sufficient qualities and quantities for downstream RNAseq processing.