TitleStress and death of cnidarian host cells play a role in cnidarian bleaching
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsPaxton, CW, Davy, SK, Weis, VM
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Coral bleaching occurs when there is a breakdown of the symbiosis between cnidarian hosts and resident Symbiodinium spp. Multiple mechanisms for the bleaching process have been identified, including apoptosis and autophagy, and most previous work has focused on the Symbiodinium cell as the initiator of the bleaching cascade. In this work we show that it is possible for host cells to initiate apoptosis that can contribute to death of the Symbiodinium cell. First we found that colchicine, which results in apoptosis in other animals, causes cell death in the model anemone Aiptasia sp. but not in cultured Symbiodinium CCMP-830 cells or in cells freshly isolated from host Aiptasia ( at least within the time frame of our study). In contrast, when symbiotic Aiptasia were incubated in colchicine, cell death in the resident Symbiodinium cells was observed, suggesting a host effect on symbiont mortality. Using live-cell confocal imaging of macerated symbiotic host cell isolates, we identified a pattern where the initiation of host cell death was followed by mortality of the resident Symbiodinium cells. This same pattern was observed in symbiotic host cells that were subjected to temperature stress. This research suggests that mortality of symbionts during temperature-induced bleaching can be initiated in part by host cell apoptosis.

URL<Go to ISI>://WOS:000321614700016