In hermatypic scleractinian corals, photosynthetic fixation of CO2 and the production of CaCO3 are intimately linked due to their symbiotic relationship with dinoflagellates of the Symbiodiniaceae family. This makes it difficult to study ion transport mechanisms involved in the different pathways. In contrast, most ahermatypic scleractinian corals do not share this symbiotic relationship and thus offer an advantage when studying the ion transport mechanisms involved in the calcification process. Despite this advantage, non-symbiotic scleractinian corals have been systematically neglected in calcification studies, resulting in a lack of data especially at the molecular level. Here, we combined a tissue micro-dissection technique and RNA-sequencing to identify calcification-related ion transporters, and other candidates, in the ahermatypic non-symbiotic scleractinian coral Tubastraea spp. Our results show that Tubastraea spp. possesses several calcification-related candidates previously identified in symbiotic scleractinian corals (such as SLC4-γ, AMT-1like, CARP, etc.). Furthermore, we identify and describe a role in scleractinian calcification for several ion transporter candidates (such as SLC13, -16, -23, etc.) identified for the first time in this study. Taken together, our results provide not only insights about the molecular mechanisms underlying non-symbiotic scleractinian calcification, but also valuable tools for the development of biotechnological solutions to better control the extreme invasiveness of corals belonging to this particular genus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas