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Telomere dysfunction is associated to dark-induced coral bleaching in the reef coral Stylophora pistillata
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  • Eric Gilson,
  • Alice Rouan,
  • Sylvie Tambutté,
  • Didier Zoccola,
  • Melanie POUSSE,
  • Eric Tambutté,
  • Nadir Djerbi,
  • Laura Capasso,
  • William Zozaya
Eric Gilson
IRCAN
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Alice Rouan
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Sylvie Tambutté
Centre Scientifique de Monaco
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Didier Zoccola
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Melanie POUSSE
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Eric Tambutté
Centre Scientifique de Monaco
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Nadir Djerbi
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Laura Capasso
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William Zozaya
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Abstract

Telomere DNA length is a complex trait controlled both by multiple loci and environmental factors. Even though the use of telomere DNA length measurement, as a method of assessing stress accumulation and predicting how this will influence survival, is currently being studied in numerous human cohort studies, the importance of telomere length for stress response in ecological studies remains at its infancy. Here, we investigated the telomere changes occurring in the symbiotic coral Stylophora pistillata that has experienced a continuous darkness over six months. This stress condition led to the loss of its symbionts, as what is also observed when bleaching occurs in the field at a large-scale due to climate changes and anthropogenic activities, threatening the worldwide reef ecosystem. We found that the continuous darkness condition was associated with telomere DNA length shortening and a downregulation of the expression of the telomere-associated protein Pot2. These results pave the way for future studies on the role of telomere in coral stress response and the importance of telomere dysregulation in endangered coral species.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

03 Apr 2021Submitted to Molecular Ecology
07 Apr 2021Assigned to Editor
07 Apr 2021Submission Checks Completed
20 Apr 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned