Glucose as a Major Metabolite in Experimentally Induced Bleaching in Anemone Exaiptasia

Authors:Root Rober, Dover Nilesh


Although current research on carbon isotopes has made us aware of the metabolic complexity of this exchange, our current understanding of carbon exchange between partners in Symbiodinium-cnidarian symbioses is still limited. We examined the metabolism of glycerol and glucose to better understand how photosynthetic products are exchanged between the host and the symbiont. The levels of these metabolites were compared between symbiotic and bleached Exaiptasia pallida anemones, and enzymes directly involved in their metabolism were determined. We measured a significant decrease in glucose levels in bleached animals, but a significant increase in glycerol and G3P pools, suggesting that bleached animals degrade lipids to compensate for the loss of symbiotic organisms and seem to rely on symbiotic glucose. Lower glycerol 3-phosphate dehydrogenase and higher glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase were measured in bleached animals, which is consistent with metabolic defects, mainly due to glucose loss caused by symbiotic rupture. These results confirm previous observations regarding the migration of carbon symbiotes from symbiota to hosts in the anemone Exaiptasia, in which glucose was considered a major metabolite for translocation. To better understand the transport and regulation of photosynthetic products, additional studies are needed with other symbiotic spore cells, especially those with a calcium carbonate backbone.

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