The continuity and intensity of ultraviolet irradiation affect the kinetics of biosynthesis, accumulation, and conversion of mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) in the coral Stylophora pistillata
Limnol. Oceanogr., 49(2), 2004, 442-458 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2004.49.2.0442
ABSTRACT: Colonies of Stylophora pistillata unexposed to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in laboratory aquaria contained minimal amounts of mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs). The concentration of MAAs increased rapidly during exposure to broadband UVR, then stabilized between 14 and 28 d of exposure. The four MAAs known to be produced by diverse zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium spp.) in culture were the first to increase in coral colonies, followed by six additional MAAs. Decreases in these four primary MAAs between days 14 and 28 were balanced by stoichiometric increases in the six secondary MAAs, suggesting a precursor-product relationship. Discontinuing UV exposure caused rapid declines in the concentrations of primary MAAs, while secondary MAAs continued to increase, likely a manifestation of different rates of turnover of the putative enzymes involved in the de novo biosynthesis of primary MAAs and their conversion to secondary MAAs. The continued production of certain MAAs after UV exposure ceased indicates that UV is not required catalytically but is a signal that induces the enzymes of the biosynthetic pathway. Biochemically inhibiting the biosynthesis of primary MAAs after a pool of these MAAs had accumulated did not affect their conversion to secondary MAAs. Doubling the UV irradiance increased the rate of accumulation, first, of primary MAAs and, later, of secondary MAAs. Under normal UV irradiance, the eventual decline in the accumulation rate of primary MAAs was quantitatively explained by their conversion to secondary MAAs. Under doubled UV irradiance, where MAA concentrations were higher, the deceleration of accumulation of primary MAAs was twice as great as the acceleration in secondary MAAs, suggesting a regulation of the de novo biosynthesis of MAAs, perhaps by their own progressive, concentration-dependent attenuation of UVR.