Gene expression microarray analysis encompassing metamorphosis and the onset of calcification in the scleractinian coral Montastraea faveolata

Alejandro Reyes-Bermudez, Michael K. DeSalvo, Christian R. Voolstra, Shinichi Sunagawa, Alina M. Szmant, Roberto Iglesias-Prieto, Mónica Medina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Similar to many marine invertebrates, scleractinian corals experience a dramatic morphological transformation, as well as a habitat switch, upon settlement and metamorphosis. At this time, planula larvae transform from non-calcifying, demersal, motile organisms into sessile, calcifying, benthic juvenile polyps. We performed gene expression microarray analyses between planulae, aposymbiotic primary polyps, and symbiotic adult tissue to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying coral metamorphosis and early stages of calcification in the Robust/Short clade scleractinian coral Montastraea faveolata. Among the annotated genes, the most abundant upregulated transcripts in the planula stage are involved in protein synthesis, chromatin assembly and mitochondrial metabolism; the polyp stage, morphogenesis, protein catabolism and organic matrix synthesis; and the adult stage, sexual reproduction, stress response and symbiosis. We also present evidence showing that the planula and adult transcriptomes are more similar to each other than to the polyp transcriptome. Our results also point to a large number of uncharacterized adult coral-specific genes likely involved in coral-specific functions such as symbiosis and calcification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-159
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Genomics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank members of the Medina Laboratory at UC Merced, and members of the photobiology group in Puerto Morelos, Mexico for aid in many aspects of this study. We are especially grateful to the numerous members of the spawning team in Mexico. The comments of two anonymous reviewers greatly improved this manuscript. This study was supported through a UC MEXUS-CONACYT Grant to MM and RI-P, NSF awards to MM ( BE-GEN 0313708 and IOS 0644438 ), and start-up funds from UC Merced to MM.


  • Calcification
  • Coral
  • Metamorphosis
  • Microarray
  • Transcriptomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Gene expression microarray analysis encompassing metamorphosis and the onset of calcification in the scleractinian coral Montastraea faveolata'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this