JoVE Logo
Faculty Resource Center

Sign In

Summary

Abstract

Introduction

Protocol

Representative Results

Discussion

Acknowledgements

Materials

References

Biology

Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry-Based Targeted Metabolomics of Hard Coral Samples

Published: October 13th, 2023

DOI:

10.3791/65628

1Climate Change Cluster (C3), University of Technology Sydney, 2Metabolomics Australia, Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, The University of Melbourne, 3School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington

Here, we present the extraction and preparation of polar and semi-polar metabolites from a coral holobiont, as well as separated coral host tissue and Symbiodiniaceae cell fractions, for gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis.

Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)-based approaches have proven to be powerful for elucidating the metabolic basis of the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis and how coral responds to stress (i.e., during temperature-induced bleaching). Steady-state metabolite profiling of the coral holobiont, which comprises the cnidarian host and its associated microbes (Symbiodiniaceae and other protists, bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses), has been successfully applied under ambient and stress conditions to characterize the holistic metabolic status of the coral.

However, to answer questions surrounding the symbiotic interactions, it is necessary to analyze the metabolite profiles of the coral host and its algal symbionts independently, which can only be achieved by physical separation and isolation of the tissues, followed by independent extraction and analysis. While the application of metabolomics is relatively new to the coral field, the sustained efforts of research groups have resulted in the development of robust methods for analyzing metabolites in corals, including the separation of the coral host tissue and algal symbionts.

This paper presents a step-by-step guide for holobiont separation and the extraction of metabolites for GC-MS analysis, including key optimization steps for consideration. We demonstrate how, once analyzed independently, the combined metabolite profile of the two fractions (coral and Symbiodiniaceae) is similar to the profile of the whole (holobiont), but by separating the tissues, we can also obtain key information about the metabolism of and interactions between the two partners that cannot be obtained from the whole alone.

Metabolites represent the end products of cellular processes, and metabolomics - the study of the suite of metabolites produced by a given organism or ecosystem - can provide a direct measure of organismal functioning1. This is particularly critical for exploring ecosystems, symbiotic interactions, and restoration tools, as the goal of most management strategies is to preserve (or restore) specific ecosystem service functions2. Coral reefs are one aquatic ecosystem that demonstrates the potential value of metabolomics for elucidating symbiotic interactions and linking coral physiological responses to community-level and ....

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

NOTE: The experimental design, sample collection and storage have been described in detail elsewhere2,30,31. Permit approval for the collection of wild corals must be obtained prior to collection and experimentation. The samples here were collected from colonies of Montipora mollis (green colour-morph) imported from Batavia Coral Farms (Geraldton, WA), originally collected from a reef off the Abrohlos Islands (Western A.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

All the data produced during this work are available in the supplementary information.

Host-symbiont separation

Figure 1
Figure 1: Setup and validation of the separation of coral host tissues and Symbiodiniaceae cells. (A) The air gun setup for the removal of coral.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

The separation of the host and symbiont is easily and rapidly achievable via simple centrifugation, and the results here show that separating the fractions can provide valuable information indicative of specific holobiont member contributions, which can contribute toward the functional analysis of coral health. In adult corals, lipid synthesis is primarily performed by the resident algal symbiont40, which supplies lipids (e.g., triacylglycerol and phospholipids)41 .......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

J.L.M. was supported by a UTS Chancellor's Research Fellowship.

....

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Name Company Catalog Number Comments
100% LC-grade methanol Merck 439193 LC grade essential
2 mL microcentrifuge tubes, PP Eppendorf 30121880 Polypropylene provides high resistance to chemicals, mechanical stress and temperature extremes
2030 Shimadzu gas chromatograph Shimadzu GC-2030
710-1180 µm acid-washed glass beads Merck
G1152
This size is optimal for breaking the Symbiodiniaceae cells
AOC-6000 Plus Multifunctional autosampler Shimadzu AOC6000
Bradford reagent Merck B6916 Any protein colourimetric reagent is acceptable
Compressed air gun Ozito 6270636 Similar design acceptable. Having a fitting to fit a 1 mL tip over is critical.
 DB-5 column with 0.25 mm internal diameter column and 1 µm film thickness Agilent 122-5013
DMF Merck RTC000098
D-Sorbitol-6-13C and/or 13C515N Valine Merck 605514/ 600148 Either or both internal standards can be added to the methanol.
Flat bottom 96-well plate Merck CLS3614
Glass scintillation vials Merck V7130 20 mL, with non-plastic seal
Immunoglogin G Merck 56834 if not availbe, Bovine Serum Albumin is acceptable
Primer v4
R v4.1.2
Shimadzu LabSolutions Insight software v3.6
Sodium Hydroxide Merck S5881 Pellets to make 1 M solution
tidyverse v1.3.1 R package
TissueLyser LT Qiagen 85600 Or similar
TQ8050NX triple quadrupole mass spectrometer Shimadzu GCMS-TQ8050 NX
UV-96 well plate Greiner M3812
Whirl-Pak sample bag Merck WPB01018WA Sample collection bag; Size: big enough to house a ~5 cm coral fragment, but not too big that the water is too spread

  1. Bundy, J. G., Davey, M. P., Viant, M. R. Environmental metabolomics: A critical review and future perspectives. Metabolomics. 5 (1), 3-21 (2008).
  2. Matthews, J. L., Beale, D. J., Hillyer, K. E., Warden, A. C., Jones, O. A. H., et al. The metabolic significance of symbiont community composition in the coral-algal symbiosis. Applied Environmental Metabolomics. , 211-229 (2022).
  3. Lawson, C. A., van Oppen, M. J. H., Aranda Lastra, M., et al. Informing coral reef conservation through metabolomic approaches. Coral Reef Conservation and Restoration in the Omics Age. Coral Reefs of the World. , 179-202 (2022).
  4. LaJeunesse, T. C., et al. Systematic revision of Symbiodiniaceae highlights the antiquity and diversity of coral endosymbionts. Current Biology. 28 (16), 2570-2580 (2018).
  5. Rohwer, F., Seguritan, V., Azam, F., Knowlton, N. Diversity and distribution of coral-associated bacteria. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 243, 1-10 (2002).
  6. Maire, J., et al. Intracellular bacteria are common and taxonomically diverse in cultured and in hospite algal endosymbionts of coral reefs. The ISME Journal. 15 (7), 2028-2042 (2021).
  7. Hillyer, K. E., et al. Metabolite profiling of symbiont and host during thermal stress and bleaching in the coral Acropora aspera. Coral Reefs. 36, 105-118 (2016).
  8. Hillyer, K. E., Tumanov, S., Villas-Bôas, S., Davy, S. K. Metabolite profiling of symbiont and host during thermal stress and bleaching in a model cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis. Journal of Experimental Biology. 219 (4), 516-527 (2016).
  9. Matthews, J. L., et al. Optimal nutrient exchange and immune responses operate in partner specificity in the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 114 (50), 13194-13199 (2017).
  10. Rosset, S. L., et al. The molecular language of the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis. Trends in Microbiology. 29 (4), 320-333 (2020).
  11. Matthews, J. L., et al. Partner switching and metabolic flux in a model cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis. Royal Society. 285 (1892), 20182336 (2018).
  12. González-Pech, R. A., et al. Physiological factors facilitating the persistence of Pocillopora aliciae and Plesiastrea versipora in temperate reefs of south-eastern Australia under ocean warming. Coral Reefs. 41, 1239-1253 (2022).
  13. Williams, A., et al. Metabolomic shifts associated with heat stress in coral holobionts. Science Advances. 7 (1), (2021).
  14. Deutsch, J. M., et al. Metabolomics of healthy and stony coral tissue loss disease affected Montastraea cavernosa corals. Frontiers in Marine Science. 8, 1421 (2021).
  15. Stien, D., et al. A unique approach to monitor stress in coral exposed to emerging pollutants. Scientific Reports. 10 (1), 9601 (2020).
  16. Lohr, K. E., et al. Resolving coral photoacclimation dynamics through coupled photophysiological and metabolomic profiling. Journal of Experimental Biology. 222 (8), (2019).
  17. Jorissen, H., et al. Coral larval settlement preferences linked to crustose coralline algae with distinct chemical and microbial signatures. Scientific Reports. 11 (1), 14610 (2021).
  18. Roach, T. N., Dilworth, J., Jones, A. D., Quinn, R. A., Drury, C. Metabolomic signatures of coral bleaching history. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 5 (4), 495-503 (2021).
  19. Parkinson, J. E., et al. Molecular tools for coral reef restoration: Beyond biomarker discovery. Conservation Letters. 13 (1), 12687 (2020).
  20. Jiang, J., et al. How Symbiodiniaceae meets the challenges of life during coral bleaching. Coral Reefs. 40, 1339-1353 (2021).
  21. Guerra, F. D., Attia, M. F., Whitehead, D. C., Alexis, F. Nanotechnology for environmental remediation: materials and applications. Molecules. 23 (7), 1760 (2018).
  22. Matthews, J. L., et al. Metabolite pools of the reef building coral Montipora capitata are unaffected by Symbiodiniaceae community composition. Coral Reefs. 39, 1727-1737 (2020).
  23. Papina, M., Meziane, T., van Woesik, R. Symbiotic zooxanthellae provide the host-coral Montipora digitata with polyunsaturated fatty acids. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 135 (3), 533-537 (2003).
  24. Kellogg, R., Patton, J. Lipid droplets, medium of energy exchange in the symbiotic anemone Condylactis gigantea: A model coral polyp. Marine Biology. 75, 137-149 (1983).
  25. Ankrah, N. Y., Chouaia, B., Douglas, A. E. The cost of metabolic interactions in symbioses between insects and bacteria with reduced genomes. mBio. 9 (5), e01433 (2018).
  26. Kabeya, N., et al. Genes for de novo biosynthesis of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are widespread in animals. Science Advances. 4 (5), (2018).
  27. Hillyer, K. E., Dias, D., Lutz, A., Roessner, U., Davy, S. K. 13C metabolomics reveals widespread change in carbon fate during coral bleaching. Metabolomics. 14 (1), 12 (2018).
  28. Hillyer, K. E., Dias, D. A., Lutz, A., Roessner, U., Davy, S. K. Mapping carbon fate during bleaching in a model cnidarian symbiosis: the application of 13C metabolomics. New Phytologist. 214 (4), 1551-1562 (2017).
  29. Burriesci, M. S., Raab, T. K., Pringle, J. R. Evidence that glucose is the major transferred metabolite in dinoflagellate-cnidarian symbiosis. Journal of Experimental Biology. 215 (19), 3467-3477 (2012).
  30. Thurber, R. V., et al. Unified methods in collecting, preserving, and archiving coral bleaching and restoration specimens to increase sample utility and interdisciplinary collaboration. PeerJ. 10, 14176 (2022).
  31. Grottoli, A. G., et al. Increasing comparability among coral bleaching experiments. Ecological Applications. 31 (4), 02262 (2020).
  32. Mushtaq, M. Y., Choi, Y. H., Verpoorte, R., Wilson, E. G. Extraction for metabolomics: access to the metabolome. Phytochemical Analysis. 25 (4), 291-306 (2014).
  33. Bradford, M. M. A rapid and sensitive method for the quantitation of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein-dye binding. Analytical Biochemistry. 72 (1), 248-254 (1976).
  34. Peterson, G. L., et al. A simplification of the protein assay method of Lowry et al. which is more generally applicable. Analytical Biochemistry. 83 (2), 346-356 (1977).
  35. Lowry, O. H., Rosebrough, N. J., Farr, A. L., Randall, R. J. Protein measurement with the Folin phenol reagent. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 193 (1), 265-275 (1951).
  36. Zamer, W. E., Shick, J. M., Tapley, D. W. Protein measurement and energetic considerations: Comparisons of biochemical and stoichiometric methods using bovine serum albumin and protein isolated from sea anemones. Limnology and Oceanography. 34 (1), 256-263 (1989).
  37. Smart, K. F., Aggio, R. B., Van Houtte, J. R., Villas-Boas, S. G. Analytical platform for metabolome analysis of microbial cells using methyl chloroformate derivatization followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Nature Protocols. 5 (10), 1709-1729 (2010).
  38. Pang, Z., et al. Using MetaboAnalyst 5.0 for LC-HRMS spectra processing, multi-omics integration and covariate adjustment of global metabolomics data. Nature Protocols. 17 (8), 1735-1761 (2022).
  39. Tibshirani, R., Walther, G., Hastie, T. Estimating the number of clusters in a data set via the gap statistic. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series B (Statistical Methodology). 63 (2), 411-423 (2001).
  40. Chen, W. -. N., et al. Diel rhythmicity of lipid-body formation in a coral-Symbiodinium endosymbiosis). Coral Reefs. 31 (2), 521-534 (2012).
  41. Imbs, A. Fatty acids and other lipids of corals: composition, distribution, and biosynthesis. Russian Journal of Marine Biology. 39 (3), 153-168 (2013).
  42. Rosset, S., et al. Lipidome analysis of Symbiodiniaceae reveals possible mechanisms of heat stress tolerance in reef coral symbionts. Coral Reefs. 38 (6), 1241-1253 (2019).
  43. Carreón-Palau, L., Parrish, C. C., Del Angel-Rodriguez, J. A., Perez-Espana, H. Seasonal shifts in fatty acids and sterols in sponges, corals, and bivalves, in a southern Gulf of Mexico coral reef under river influence. Coral Reefs. 40 (2), 571-593 (2021).
  44. Imbs, A. B., Dang, L. T. Seasonal dynamics of fatty acid biomarkers in the soft coral Sinularia flexibilis, a common species of Indo-Pacific coral reefs. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology. 96, 104246 (2021).
  45. Oku, H., Yamashiro, H., Onaga, K., Sakai, K., Iwasaki, H. Seasonal changes in the content and composition of lipids in the coral Goniastrea aspera. Coral Reefs. 22 (1), 83-85 (2003).
  46. Weis, V. M. Cell biology of coral symbiosis: foundational study can inform solutions to the coral reef crisis. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 59 (4), 845-855 (2019).
  47. Oakley, C., Davy, S., van Oppen, M., Lough, J. Cell biology of coral bleaching. Coral Bleaching. , 189-211 (2018).
  48. Lu, W., et al. Metabolite measurement: Pitfalls to avoid and practices to follow. Annual Review of Biochemistry. 86, 277-304 (2017).
  49. Lawson, C. A., et al. Heat stress decreases the diversity, abundance and functional potential of coral gas emissions. Global Change Biology. 27 (4), 879-891 (2021).
  50. Olander, A., et al. Comparative volatilomics of coral endosymbionts from one-and comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography approaches. Marine Biology. 168 (5), 76 (2021).
  51. Wuerz, M., et al. Symbiosis induces unique volatile profiles in the model cnidarian Aiptasia. Journal of Experimental Biology. 225 (19), (2022).

This article has been published

Video Coming Soon

JoVE Logo

Privacy

Terms of Use

Policies

Research

Education

ABOUT JoVE

Copyright © 2024 MyJoVE Corporation. All rights reserved