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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 275:129-137 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/meps275129

Seasonal variability of prooxidant pressure and antioxidant adaptation to symbiosis in the Mediterranean demosponge Petrosia ficiformis

F. Regoli1,*, C. Cerrano2, E. Chierici1, M. C. Chiantore2, G. Bavestrello3

1Istituto di Biologia e Genetica, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Ranieri, Monte D¹Ago, 60100 Ancona, Italy
2Dipartimento per lo Studio del Territorio e delle sue Risorse, Università di Genova, Via Balbi 5, 16126 Genova, Italy
3Dipartimento di Scienze del Mare, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60100 Ancona, Italy

ABSTRACT: In symbioses between invertebrates and microalgae, host tissues are exposed to increased levels of photosynthetically produced oxygen. The biochemical consequences of symbioses have been poorly investigated in Mediterranean species, but a general increase in antioxidant defences has been recently reported in the demosponge Petrosia ficiformis as an adaptive response to the cyanobacterium Aphanocapsa feldmanni. Since Mediterranean symbioses naturally experience marked seasonal variations in symbiont content, light intensity and seawater temperature, the aim of this work was to investigate if these fluctuations modulate the prooxidant challenge to sponge tissues. Antioxidant efficiency was characterised on a monthly basis by combining an analysis of the main antioxidants (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione S-transferases, glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidases) with measurements of the total oxyradical scavenging capacity (TOSC), thus achieving a more holistic assessment of the capacity of sponge tissues to absorb different forms of reactive oxygen species. Symbiotic sponges showed significant seasonal changes in antioxidant efficiency, with more marked variations in tissues directly exposed to photosynthetically produced reactive oxygen species. The greatest variations were observed during the summer months, with the highest seasonal values for some defences (i.e. catalase) and the lowest for others (i.e. glutathione peroxidases). The marked increase in catalase and TOSC in summer suggests greater production of H2O2 in the symbioses during this period, supporting the hypothesis that seawater temperature can significantly modulate the prooxidant challenge in Mediterranean symbioses. The results suggest that species with lower antioxidant efficiency may be less tolerant of conditions effecting oxidative damage; e.g. increases in temperature during the summer months.

KEY WORDS: Mediterranean symbioses · Oxyradicals · Antioxidants · Adaptation · Sensitivity · Temperature · Demosponge

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