Condition-specific RNA editing in the coral symbiont Symbiodinium microadriaticum

Yi Jin Liew, Yong Li, Sebastian Baumgarten, Christian R. Voolstra, Manuel Aranda

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39 Scopus citations


RNA editing is a rare post-transcriptional event that provides cells with an additional level of gene expression regulation. It has been implicated in various processes including adaptation, viral defence and RNA interference; however, its potential role as a mechanism in acclimatization has just recently been recognised. Here, we show that RNA editing occurs in 1.6% of all nuclear-encoded genes of Symbiodinium microadriaticum, a dinoflagellate symbiont of reef-building corals. All base-substitution edit types were present, and statistically significant motifs were associated with three edit types. Strikingly, a subset of genes exhibited condition-specific editing patterns in response to different stressors that resulted in significant increases of non-synonymous changes. We posit that this previously unrecognised mechanism extends this organism’s capability to respond to stress beyond what is encoded by the genome. This in turn may provide further acclimatization capacity to these organisms, and by extension, their coral hosts.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1006619
JournalPLOS Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 28 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Research reported in this publication was supported by funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. We would like to thank Craig Michell for RNA-seq library construction, the KAUST Bioscience Core lab for library sequencing and Guoxin Cui for performing the differential expression analysis.


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