Black corals, ecologically important cnidarians found from shallow to deep ocean depths, form a strong yet flexible skeleton of sclerotized chitin and other biomolecules including proteins. The structure and mechanical properties of the chitin component of the skeleton have been well-characterized. However, the protein component has remained a mystery. Here we used liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to sequence proteins extracted from two species of common Red Sea black corals following either one or two cleaning steps. We detected hundreds of proteins between the two corals, nearly 70 of which are each other’s reciprocal best BLAST hit. Unlike stony corals, only a few of the detected proteins were moderately acidic (biased toward aspartic and/or glutamic acid residues) suggesting less of a role for these types of proteins in black coral skeleton formation as compared to stony corals. No distinct chitin binding domains were found in the proteins, but proteins annotated as having a role in protein and chitin modifications were detected. Our results support the integral role of proteins in black coral skeleton formation, structure, and function.
|Journal||Frontiers in Marine Science|
|State||Published - 30 Jun 2022|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the InterUniversity Institute in Eilat, Israel for accommodations during sampling; Hagai Nativ for photography; the Morris Khan Research Station diving team for SCUBA assistance; David Morgenstern at the de Botton Institute for Protein Profiling at Nancy and Stephen Grand Israel National Center for Personalized Medicine at the Weizmann Institute of Science for proteomic sequencing and analysis; the Nancy and Stephen Grand Israel National Center for Personalized Medicine at the Weizmann Institute of Science for transcriptome sequencing and analysis; and Tal Zaquin and Ricardo Almuly at the University of Haifa for laboratory assistance.
This project has received funding from GIF, the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development by the Israeli Science Foundation (Award #Grant I-1496-302.8) to TM. JD was supported by the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Postdoctoral program.
Copyright © 2022 Drake and Mass.
- LC-MS/MS protein sequencing
- skeletal proteins
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Global and Planetary Change
- Aquatic Science
- Water Science and Technology
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Ocean Engineering