EMAIL THIS PAGE TO A FRIEND

PloS one

Herbivore-induced chemical and molecular responses of the kelps Laminaria digitata and Lessonia spicata.


PMID 28253346

Abstract

Kelps are founding species of temperate marine ecosystems, living in intertidal coastal areas where they are often challenged by generalist and specialist herbivores. As most sessile organisms, kelps develop defensive strategies to restrain grazing damage and preserve their own fitness during interactions with herbivores. To decipher some inducible defense and signaling mechanisms, we carried out metabolome and transcriptome analyses in two emblematic kelp species, Lessonia spicata from South Pacific coasts and Laminaria digitata from North Atlantic, when challenged with their main specialist herbivores. Mass spectrometry based metabolomics revealed large metabolic changes induced in these two brown algae following challenges with their own specialist herbivores. Targeted metabolic profiling of L. spicata further showed that free fatty acid (FFA) and amino acid (AA) metabolisms were particularly regulated under grazing. An early stress response was illustrated by the accumulation of Sulphur containing amino acids in the first twelve hours of herbivory pressure. At latter time periods (after 24 hours), we observed FFA liberation and eicosanoid oxylipins synthesis likely representing metabolites related to stress. Global transcriptomic analysis identified sets of candidate genes specifically induced by grazing in both kelps. qPCR analysis of the top candidate genes during a 48-hours time course validated the results. Most of these genes were particularly activated by herbivore challenge after 24 hours, suggesting that transcriptional reprogramming could be operated at this time period. We demonstrated the potential utility of these genes as molecular markers for herbivory by measuring their inductions in grazed individuals of field harvested L. digitata and L. spicata. By unravelling the regulation of some metabolites and genes following grazing pressure in two kelps representative of the two hemispheres, this work contributes to provide a set of herbivore-induced chemical and molecular responses in kelp species, showing similar inducible responses upon specialist herbivores in their respective ecosystems.