The mutualistic endosymbiosis between cnidarians and dinoflagellates is mediated by complex inter-partner signaling events, where the host cnidarian innate immune system plays a crucial role in recognition and regulation of symbionts. To date, little is known about the diversity of thrombospondin-type-1 repeat (TSR) domain proteins in basal metazoans and or their potential role in regulation of cnidarian-dinoflagellate mutualisms. We reveal a large and diverse repertoire of TSR proteins in seven anthozoan species, and show that in the model sea anemone Aiptasia pallida the TSR domain promotes colonization of the host by the symbiotic dinoflagellate Symbiodinium minutum. Blocking TSR domains led to decreased colonization success, while adding exogenous TSRs resulted in a 'super colonization'. Furthermore, gene expression of TSR proteins was highest at early time-points during symbiosis establishment. Our work characterizes the diversity of cnidarian TSR proteins and provides evidence that these proteins play an important role in the establishment of cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis.
- Virginia M Weis
- Emilie-Fleur Neubauer
- Kenneth Tan
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Paul G Falkowski, Rutgers University, United States
© 2017, Neubauer et al.
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