Scientific Publication in Marine Biology - Physiology Team

A key enzyme for coral calcification

Scientists of the Physiology and Biochemistry team have published an article on the cell biology underlying calcification of corals.  Coral calcification is essential for the formation and sustainability of coral reef ecosystems, but the molecular and cellular processes driving this ecologically important process are poorly understood.  Previous research at CSM has demonstrated how pH regulation is an important factor in coral calcification, and in light of this, the current study focused on an important acid-base sensing enzyme, soluble Adenyl Cyclase or “sAC” for short. 

Working at the Centre Scientifique de Monaco, Sylvie Tambutté and Alexander Venn collaborated with lead author Katie Barott (University of Pennsylvania) and Martin Tresguerres (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) in a project supported by the National Science Foundation of the USA.

The researchers first localised sAC in the coral calcifying cells and other tissues of Stylophora pistillata. They then used confocal microscopy to investigate how inhibition of sAC caused declines in pH in the coral extracellular calcifying medium (ECM) and a simultaneous decline in coral calcification rate.  These findings indicate that corals use sAC to help regulate pH in the ECM up to levels which favour calcification.

In an age when the marine science community needs a better functional understanding of corals to define the limits of their acclimatization and adaption to a rapidly changing ocean, the study provides valuable insight into the cell biology of calcification. The study was published in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.




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