Diatom bloom-derived biotoxins cause aberrant development and gene expression in the appendicularian chordate Oikopleura dioica

Nuria P Torres-Águila, Josep Martí-Solans, Alfonso Ferrández-Roldán, Alba Almazán, Vittoria Roncalli, Salvatore D'Aniello, Giovanna Romano, Anna Palumbo, Ricard Albalat, Cristian Cañestro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Investigating environmental hazards than could affect appendicularians is of prime ecological interest because they are among the most abundant components of the mesozooplankton. This work shows that embryo development of the appendicularian Oikopleura dioica is compromised by diatom bloom-derived biotoxins, even at concentrations in the same range as those measured after blooms. Developmental gene expression analysis of biotoxin-treated embryos uncovers an aberrant golf ball-like phenotype affecting morphogenesis, midline convergence, and tail elongation. Biotoxins induce a rapid upregulation of defensome genes, and considerable delay and silencing of zygotic transcription of developmental genes. Upon a possible future intensification of blooms associated with ocean warming and acidification, our work puts an alert on the potential impact that an increase of biotoxins may have on marine food webs, and points to defensome genes as molecular biosensors that marine ecologists could use to monitor the genetic stress of natural populations exposed to microalgal blooms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121
JournalCommunications Biology
Volume1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2018

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