UV-B radiation bearings on ephemeral soma in the shallow water tunicate Botryllus schlosseri

Andy Qarri, Amalia Rosner, Claudette Rabinowitz, Baruch Rinkevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sedentary shallow water marine organisms acquire numerous protective mechanisms to mitigate the detrimental effects of UV radiation (UV-R). Here we investigated morphological and gene expression outcomes in colonies of the cosmopolitan ascidian Botryllus schlosseri, up to 15-days post UV-B irradiation. Astogeny in Botryllus is characterized by weekly repeating sets of asexual budding, coinciding with apoptotic elimination of functional zooids (blastogenesis). Ten UV-B doses were administered to three clusters: sublethal, enhanced-mortality, lethal (LD50 = 6.048 kJ/m2) which differed in mortality rates, yet reflected similar distorted morphotypes, and arrested blastogenesis, all intensified in the enhanced-mortality/lethal clusters. Even the sub-lethal doses inflicted expression modifications in 8 stress proteins (HSP 90/70 families and NIMA) as well as morphological blastogenesis. The morphological/gene-expression impacts in surviving colonies lasted for 15 days post irradiation (two blastogenic-cycles), where all damaged and arrested zooids/buds were absorbed, after which the colonies returned to their normal blastogenic-cycles and gene expression profiles, and initiated new buds. The above reflects a novel colonial maintenance strategy associated with the disposable-soma tenet, where the ephemeral soma in Botryllus is eliminated without engaging with the costs of repair, whereas other colonial components, primarily the pool of totipotent stem cells, are sustained under yet unknown colonial-level regulatory cues.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110489
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • Blastogenesis
  • Botryllus schlosseri
  • Disposable soma
  • Stress-related genes
  • UV-B
  • UV-R

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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