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Ip, Y. K., & Chew, S. F. (2021). Light-dependent phenomena and related molecular mechanisms in giant clam-dinoflagellate associations: A review. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8, Article 627722. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.627722
Giant clams can grow to large sizes despite living in oligotrophic waters of the tropical Indo-Pacific as they maintain a mutualistic relationship with symbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae) and receive photosynthate from them. The phototrophic dinoflagellates live extracellularly inside a tubular system located mainly in the colorful outer mantle and have no access to the ambient seawater. Hence, the clam host needs to absorb exogenous inorganic carbon (Ci), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), and supply them to the symbionts. As photosynthesizing symbionts need more nutrients in light than in the dark, the uptake rates of these exogenous nutrients by the host must increase during illumination, implying that the host’s transporters involved need to be regulated by some kind of light-responsive mechanisms. Furthermore, the growth and development of the host can also be augmented by light, because of the photosynthate donated by the photosynthesizing symbionts. Consequently, giant clams display many light-dependent phenomena related to phototrophy, antioxidative defense, biomineralization, as well as absorption of exogenous Ci, N, and P. These phenomena may involve collaborations among enzymes and transporters in several organs of the host, whereby the gene and protein expression levels of these biocatalysts are up- or down-regulated during illumination. This review aims to examine the molecular mechanisms of light-dependent physiological phenomena that occur in intact giant clam-dinoflagellate associations, and to highlight the differences between giant clams and scleractinian corals in those regards. As the population of giant clams in nature are dwindling due to climate change and anthropogenic activities, a good understanding of their light-dependent processes may generate new ideas to improve their growth and survival under rapidly changing environmental conditions.
RI 3/19 CSF
Grant no.: R-154-000-A37-114
Grant no.: R-154-000-B69-114
NIE Academic Research Fund (Grant no.: NIE AcRF RI3/19CSF)
Ministry of Education, Singapore
National Institute of Education, Singapore
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checked on Mar 3, 2021
checked on Mar 3, 2021
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