Unveiling Molecular Basis of Fertilisation in Scleractinian Corals Using Extensive Genomic Information

Author(s): Akira Iguchi.

Journal Name: Current Bioinformatics

Volume 9 , Issue 2 , 2014

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Many aspects of the reproductive biology of scleractinian corals remain unknown. External fertilisation during broadcast spawning events generates the potential for interspecific hybridisation, yet whilst efficient cross-fertilisation often occurs in vitro and species boundaries are blurred due to introgression, in nature hybridisation happens rarely even between sympatric and highly cross-fertile species. One potential explanation of the discrepancy between the observed and potential level of hybridisation is temporal partitioning. An essential first step towards resolving this apparent paradox is an understanding of the molecular basis of fertilisation in corals. Here I summarise those aspects of fertilisation mechanisms in some of the best-characterised animal systems (Vertebrata, Mollusca, Echinodermata) under the premise that these may provide insight into the mechanisms dictating fertilisation in spawning corals. This leads to propose that interactions involving integrins, ADAM family proteins and modifiers/co-receptors may underlie gamete interactions in corals. The identification of fast-evolving genes such as ADAMs also promises to provide candidates for roles in coral fertilisation. Overall in this review I describe how new genomic information can shed light on the molecular basis of coral fertilisation and this will help progress our understanding of the reproductive systems in this keystone group of reefbuilding organisms.

Keywords: Acropora, ADAM-integrin interactions, corals, fast-evolving genes, fertilisation, genome.

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Article Details

Year: 2014
Page: [182 - 187]
Pages: 6
DOI: 10.2174/1574893608999140109113829
Price: $58

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