The tropical coral displays an unusual chromatin structure and showshistone H3 clipping plasticity upon bleaching.

Roquis D. et al.

is a hermatypic coral with strong ecological importance. Anthropogenic disturbances and global warming are major threats that can induce coral bleaching, the disruption of the mutualistic symbiosis between the coral host and its endosymbiotic algae. Previous works have shown that somaclonal colonies display different levels of survival depending on the environmental conditions they previously faced. Epigenetic mechanisms are good candidates to explain this phenomenon. However, almost no work had been published on the epigenome, especially on histone modifications. In this study, we aim at providing the first insight into chromatin structure of this species. We aligned the amino acid sequence of core histones with histone sequences from various phyla. We developed a centri-filtration on sucrose gradient to separate chromatin from the host and the symbiont. The presence of histone H3 protein and specific histone modifications were then detected by western blot performed on histone extraction done from bleached and healthy corals. Finally, micrococcal nuclease (MNase) digestions were undertaken to study nucleosomal organization. The centri-filtration enabled coral chromatin isolation with less than 2\% of contamination by endosymbiont material. Histone sequences alignments with other species show that displays on average ~90\% of sequence similarities with mice and ~96\% with other corals. H3 detection by western blot showed that H3 is clipped in healthy corals while it appeared to be intact in bleached corals. MNase treatment failed to provide the usual mononucleosomal digestion, a feature shared with some cnidarian, but not all; suggesting an unusual chromatin structure. These results provide a first insight into the chromatin, nucleosome and histone structure of . The unusual patterns highlighted in this study and partly shared with other cnidarian will need to be further studied to better understand its role in corals.


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January, 2021


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