Reef-building corals begin as non-calcifying larvae that, upon settling, rapidly begin to accrete skeleton and a protein-rich skeletal organic matrix that attach them to the reef. Here, we characterized the temporal and spatial expression pattern of a suite of biomineralization genes during three stages of larval development in the reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis: stage I, newly released; stage II, oral-aborally compressed and stage III, settled and calcifying spat. Transcriptome analysis revealed 3882 differentially expressed genes that clustered into four distinctly different patterns of expression change across the three developmental stages. Immunolocalization analysis further reveals the spatial arrangement of coral acid-rich proteins (CARPs) in the overall architecture of the emerging skeleton. These results provide the first analysis of the timing of the biomineralization ‘toolkit’ in the early life history of a stony coral.
- Received February 11, 2016.
- Accepted April 1, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.