Condition-specific RNA editing in S. microadriaticum
28 February, 2017
Our latest publication in PLOS Genetics describe the discovery of RNA editing in nuclear-encoded genes of Symbiodinium microadriaticum, which belongs to a clade of algal symbionts of corals. RNA editing is the process where the transcript sequences are modified post-transcriptionally, thus producing proteins that differ slightly from the version encoded in the genome.
More interestingly, when we subjected cultures to short-term, bleaching-relevant stressors, we observed that some genes had shifts in editing ratios that were specific to the stressor. We postulate that RNA editing might be a low cost system for these haploid organisms to adapt to their surroundings, as they could produce protein variants without incurring expensive and possibly deleterious mutations in their genomes.