Date of Award

Spring 4-17-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Department

Biology

Abstract

Symbiosis is widespread among shallow-water invertebrates including corals. Most reef corals hold an intracellular mutualistic relationship with photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium. Different species confer different physiological traits on their host, such as thermal tolerance. However, corals are limited in the number of species of Symbiodinium they can host. The mechanisms that define this host specificity as well as those that help maintain symbiosis are not well understood. This study sought to determine how the proteomic profile differs depending on Symbiodinium type and symbiotic state. Exaiptasia pallida, a sea anemone, is used as a model to characterize cnidarian symbiosis. This study determined the proteomic differences between anemones hosting their native Symbiodinium linuchaeae, and a thermally resistant non-native species, S. trenchii. Both of these were compared with the aposymbiotic condition of having no symbionts. It also sought to determine if protein expression changes occur between the day and night due to a lack of photosynthetic activity in the latter condition. The results demonstrated that anemones up- and down- regulate a core set of proteins as a function of symbiosis while also showing differential regulation depending on the type of Symbiodinium hosted. Differential expression between day and night conditions was more prominent in anemones hosting S. trenchii than those hosting S. linucheae when both are compared with aposymbiotic anemones.

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