Host under epigenetic control: A novel perspective on the interaction between microorganisms and corals

Adam R. Barno, Helena D. M. Villela, Manuel Aranda, Torsten Thomas, Raquel S Peixoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Coral reefs have been challenged by the current rate and severity of environmental change that might outpace their ability to adapt and survive. Current research focuses on understanding how microbial communities and epigenetic changes separately affect phenotypes and gene expression of corals. Here, we provide the hypothesis that coral-associated microorganisms may directly or indirectly affect the coral's phenotypic response through the modulation of its epigenome. Homologs of ankyrin-repeat protein A and internalin B, which indirectly cause histone modifications in humans, as well as Rv1988 histone methyltransferase, and the DNA methyltransferases Rv2966c, Mhy1, Mhy2, and Mhy3 found in coral-associated bacteria indicate that there are potential host epigenome-modifying proteins in the coral microbiome. With the ideas presented here, we suggest that microbiome manipulation may be a means to alter a coral's epigenome, which could aid the current efforts to protect coral reefs.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2100068
StatePublished - Aug 31 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-09-02
Acknowledgements: This review was carried out in association with the ongoing R&D project registered as ANP 21005-4, ‘PROBIODEEP – Survey of potential impacts caused by oil and gas exploration on deep-sea marine holobionts and selection of potential bioindicators and bioremediation processes for these ecosystems’ (UFRJ/Shell Brasil/ANP), sponsored by Shell Brasil under the ANP R&D levy as ‘Compromisso de Investimentos com Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento’. The authors thank the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) for their fellowship support to Raquel Peixoto.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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