A single-cell view of ammonium assimilation in coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis

Pernice, Mathieu, Meibom, Anders, Van Den Heuvel, Annamieke, Kopp, Christophe, Domart-Coulon, Isabelle, Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove and Dove, Sophie (2012) A single-cell view of ammonium assimilation in coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis. Isme Journal, 6 7: 1314-1324. doi:10.1038/ismej.2011.196

Author Pernice, Mathieu
Meibom, Anders
Van Den Heuvel, Annamieke
Kopp, Christophe
Domart-Coulon, Isabelle
Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove
Dove, Sophie
Title A single-cell view of ammonium assimilation in coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis
Journal name Isme Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1751-7362
Publication date 2012-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/ismej.2011.196
Volume 6
Issue 7
Start page 1314
End page 1324
Total pages 11
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract Assimilation of inorganic nitrogen from nutrient-poor tropical seas is an essential challenge for the endosymbiosis between reef-building corals and dinoflagellates. Despite the clear evidence that reef-building corals can use ammonium as inorganic nitrogen source, the dynamics and precise roles of host and symbionts in this fundamental process remain unclear. Here, we combine high spatial resolution ion microprobe imaging (NanoSIMS) and pulse-chase isotopic labeling in order to track the dynamics of ammonium incorporation within the intact symbiosis between the reef-building coral Acropora aspera and its dinoflagellate symbionts. We demonstrate that both dinoflagellate and animal cells have the capacity to rapidly fix nitrogen from seawater enriched in ammonium (in less than one hour). Further, by establishing the relative strengths of the capability to assimilate nitrogen for each cell compartment, we infer that dinoflagellate symbionts can fix 14 to 23 times more nitrogen than their coral host cells in response to a sudden pulse of ammonium-enriched seawater. Given the importance of nitrogen in cell maintenance, growth and functioning, the capability to fix ammonium from seawater into the symbiotic system may be a key component of coral nutrition. Interestingly, this metabolic response appears to be triggered rapidly by episodic nitrogen availability. The methods and results presented in this study open up for the exploration of dynamics and spatial patterns associated with metabolic activities and nutritional interactions in a multitude of organisms that live in symbiotic relationships.
Keyword Coral
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 5 January 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
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