Proteomic analysis of bleached and unbleached Acropora palmata, a threatened coral species of the Caribbean

Martha Ricaurte, Nikolaos V. Schizas, Pawel Ciborowski, Nawal M. Boukli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


There has been an increase in the scale and frequency of coral bleaching around the world due mainly to changes in sea temperature. This may occur at large scales, often resulting in significant decline in coral coverage. In order to understand the molecular and cellular basis of the ever-increasing incidence of coral bleaching, we have undertaken a comparative proteomic approach with the endangered Caribbean coral Acropora palmata. Using a proteomic tandem mass spectrometry approach, we identified 285 and 321 expressed protein signatures in bleached and unbleached A. palmata colonies, respectively, in southwestern Puerto Rico. Overall the expression level of 38 key proteins was significantly different between bleached and unbleached corals. A wide range of proteins was detected and categorized, including transcription factors involved mainly in heat stress/UV responses, immunity, apoptosis, biomineralization, the cytoskeleton, and endo-exophagocytosis. The results suggest that for bleached A. palmata, there was an induced differential protein expression response compared with those colonies that did not bleach under the same environmental conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-232
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 15 2016


  • Acropora palmata
  • Coral bleaching
  • Proteomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


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