Gene expression profiles during short-term heat stress in the red sea coral Stylophora pistillata

Keren Maor-Landaw, Sarit Karako-Lampert, Hiba Waldman Ben-Asher, Stefano Goffredo, Giuseppe Falini, Zvy Dubinsky, Oren Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


During the past several decades, corals worldwide have been affected by severe bleaching events leading to wide-spread coral mortality triggered by global warming. The symbiotic Red Sea coral Stylophora pistillata from the Gulf of Eilat is considered an opportunistic 'r' strategist. It can thrive in relatively unstable environments and is considered a stress-tolerant species. Here, we used a S. pistillata custom microarray to examine gene expression patterns and cellular pathways during short-term (13-day) heat stress. The results allowed us to identify a two-step reaction to heat stress, which intensified significantly as the temperature was raised to a 32°C threshold, beyond which, coping strategies failed at 34°C. We identified potential 'early warning genes' and 'severe heat-related genes'. Our findings suggest that during short-term heat stress, S. pistillata may divert cellular energy into mechanisms such as the ER-unfolded protein response (UPR) and ER-associated degradation (ERAD) at the expense of growth and biomineralization processes in an effort to survive and subsequently recover from the stress. We suggest a mechanistic theory for the heat stress responses that may explain the success of some species which can thrive under a wider range of temperatures relative to others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3026-3035
Number of pages10
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number10
Early online date5 Apr 2014
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


FundersFunder number
European Research Council2009-AdG-249930


    • Coral
    • Gene expression
    • Microarray
    • Stress response


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