Symbiodiniaceae diversity and characterization of palytoxin in various zoantharians (Anthozoa, Hexacorallia) - Aix-Marseille Université Access content directly
Journal Articles Organisms Diversity and Evolution Year : 2022

Symbiodiniaceae diversity and characterization of palytoxin in various zoantharians (Anthozoa, Hexacorallia)


Anemone-like animals belonging to the order Zoantharia are common anthozoans widely distributed from shallow to deep tropical and subtropical waters. Some species are well-known because of their high toxicity due to the presence of palytoxin (PLTX) in their tissues. PLTX is a large polyhydroxylated compound and one of the most potent toxins known. Currently, the PLTX biosynthetic pathway in zoantharians and the role of the host or the putative symbiotic organism(s) involved in this pathway are entirely unknown. To better understand the presence of PLTX in some Zoantharia, twenty-nine zoantharian colonies were analysed in this study. All zoantharian samples and their endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodiniaceae = Zooxanthellae) were identified using DNA barcoding and phylogenetic reconstructions. Quantification of PLTX and its analogues showed that the yields contained in Palythoa heliodiscus, Palythoa aff. clavata and one potentially undescribed species of Palythoa are among the highest ever found (up to > 2 mg/g of wet zoantharian). Mass spectrometry imaging was used for the first time on Palythoa samples and revealed that in situ distribution of PLTX is mainly located in ectodermal tissues such as the epidermis of the body wall and the pharynx. Moreover, high levels of PLTX have been detected in histological regions where few or no Symbiodiniaceae cells could be observed. Finally, issues such as host-specificity and environmental variables driving biogeographical patterns of hosted Symbiodiniaceae in zoantharian lineages were discussed in light of our phylogenetic results as well as the patterns of PLTX distribution. It was concluded that (1) the variability of Symbiodiniaceae diversity may be related to ecological divergence in Zoantharia, (2) All Palythoa species hosted Cladocopium Symbiodiniaceae (formerly clade C), (3) the sole presence of Cladocopium is not sufficient to explain the presence of high concentrations of PLTX and/or its analogues and (4) the ability to produce high levels of PLTX and/or its analogues highlighted in some Palythoa species could be a plesiomorphic character inherited from their last common ancestor and subsequently lost in several lineages.
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hal-04048140 , version 1 (27-03-2023)



Ludovic Sawelew, Christopher Nuccio, Colin Foord, Jean Lorquin, Yvan Perez. Symbiodiniaceae diversity and characterization of palytoxin in various zoantharians (Anthozoa, Hexacorallia). Organisms Diversity and Evolution, 2022, 22 (3), pp.555-576. ⟨10.1007/s13127-022-00550-2⟩. ⟨hal-04048140⟩
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