Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 901–910 | Cite as

Transcript response of soft coral (Scleronephthya gracillimum) on exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

  • Seonock Woo
  • Aekyung Lee
  • Vianney Denis
  • Chaolun A. Chen
  • Seungshic Yum
Research Article


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are the most persistent organic pollutants in worldwide aquatic environments. The extensive isolation of genes responsive to PAH pollution in soft coral (Scleronephthya gracillimum) is described herein. Soft coral colonies were exposed to 100 μg/L of a standard mixture of PAHs. Gene candidates with transcript levels that changed in response to PAH exposure were identified by differential display polymerase chain reaction (DD-PCR). There were 37 types of candidate genes identified, of which 20 were upregulated in expression and 17 were downregulated. The functions of the genes identified included oxidative stress response, ribosomal structure maintenance, molecular chaperone activity, protein kinase activation and tumorigenesis, defense mechanisms, transcription, and other biological responses. mRNA quantification was carried out using real-time quantitative PCR in eight selected genes: cytosolic malate dehydrogenase, protein disulfide isomerase, ribosomal protein L6, ral guanine nucleotide dissociation stimulator-like 1, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 4, peptidylglycine α-hydroxylating monooxygenase, a disintegrin and metalloproteinase (ADAM) metallopeptidase protein, and eukaryotic initiation factor 4 gamma 3. Changes in transcript levels were consistent with DD-PCR results. The gene candidates isolated in this study were differentially expressed and therefore have potential as molecular biomarkers for understanding coral responses to environmental stressors.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon stress Differentially expressed genes DD-PCR qRT-PCR Soft coral Scleronephthya gracillimum 



This subject was supported by “Marine and Extreme Genome Research Center Program” of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Republic of Korea to SY (KIOST project no. PM57372), and the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology project (PE99152).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seonock Woo
    • 1
    • 3
  • Aekyung Lee
    • 1
  • Vianney Denis
    • 2
  • Chaolun A. Chen
    • 2
  • Seungshic Yum
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.South Sea Environment Research DivisionKorea Institute of Ocean Science and TechnologyGeojeRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Biodiversity Research CentreAcademia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan
  3. 3.Faculty of Marine Environmental Chemistry and BiologyUniversity of Science and TechnologyGeojeRepublic of Korea

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