[Coral-List] manuscript pre-print - gene expression plasticity in a coral

Carly Kenkel carly.kenkel at gmail.com
Tue Jun 28 21:34:55 EDT 2016

Dear coral-listers,

We would like to draw your attention to our manuscript pre-print now
available on bioRxiv entitled "Enhanced gene expression plasticity as a
mechanism of adaptation to a variable environment in a reef-building
coral". Any feedback you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Please
send comments directly to carly.kenkel at gmail.com or matz at utexas.edu.

Download link: http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/06/18/059667

Local adaptation is ubiquitous, but the molecular mechanisms giving rise to
this ecological phenomenon remain largely unknown. A year-long reciprocal
transplant of mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides) between a highly
environmentally variable inshore habitat and more stable offshore habitat
demonstrated that both inshore and offshore populations exhibit elevated
growth, protein and lipid content in their home reef environment,
indicative of local adaptation. Here, we characterized the genomic basis of
this adaptation in both coral hosts and their intracellular algal symbionts
(Symbiodinium sp.) using genome-wide gene expression profiling and gene
coexpression network analysis. Inshore and offshore coral populations
differ primarily in their capacity for gene expression plasticity: upon
transplantation to a novel environment inshore corals were able to match
expression profiles of the local population significantly better than
offshore corals. Furthermore, elevated plasticity in expression of
environmental stress response (ESR) genes was adaptive in the inshore
environment: it correlated with the least susceptibility to a natural
summer bleaching event, whereas higher constitutive ESR gene expression
("frontloading" sensu Barshis et al. 2013) did not. Our results reveal a
novel genomic mechanism of resilience to a variable environment,
demonstrating that corals are capable of a more diverse molecular response
to environmental stress than previously thought.

Carly Kenkel & Misha Matz
Carly Kenkel
NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Biology
Australian Institute of Marine Science
PMB No. 3, Townsville MC
Queensland 4810, Australia
C.Kenkel at aims.gov.au
carly.kenkel at gmail.com
office: (+61) 07 4753 4268
mobile: (+61) 04 2968 3148
twitter: @DrCarlsHorn <https://twitter.com/DrCarlsHorn>

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