UV incites diverse levels of DNA breaks in different cellular compartments of a branching coral species

Rinkevich Baruch, Nanthawan Avishai, Claudette Rabinowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study evaluates in vitro the effects of UVB irradiation on three cellular compartments of a shallow water coral species. Coral tissues were dissociated by Ca2+-Mg2+-free artificial seawater. Cell suspensions were divided into the major cellular compartments (animal cells, algal cells, holobiont entities) by sucrose gradient and then by detergent treatments. Cell fractions were irradiated by UVB lamp (4.05, 8.1 and 12.2 kJ m–2) and subjected to the comet assay. UVB radiation, at levels that induced a moderate DNA breakage to the non-symbiotic coral and algal cell compartments, caused dramatic increase in DNA breakage to the holobiont entities. After a 1 h repair period, DNA breakage levels in the algal and animal cell fractions were augmented as compared with a reduction in DNA breakage in the holobiont fraction. This discordancy in DNA breakage between the three cellular compartments reveals that the holobiont cell fraction is more vulnerable to increased natural UV irradiation and associated anthropogenic genotoxic impacts, providing another possible explanation for recent increase in worldwide coral bleaching events.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)843-848
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Comet assay
  • Coral
  • DNA breakage
  • DNA repair
  • Free radicals
  • UV radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Physiology


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