The transcriptome of the marine calanoid copepod Temora longicornis under heat stress and recovery

Over the past decades, the world's oceans and seas have been influenced by several human induced impacts, including climate change. Understanding the impacts of this changing environmental condition in zooplankton communities is crucial, as alterations in the zooplankton communities can affect entire marine ecosystems. Here, we focus on the potential effects of an increase in temperature on the calanoid copepod species, Temora longicornis, the dominant zooplankton species of the southern part of the North Sea. We sequenced the transcriptome (using RNA-seq technology) in T. longicornis, after being exposed to thermal stress, to investigate gene expression differences as a response to temperature fluctuations. 


Scientific abstract

Understanding the impacts of global change in zooplankton communities is crucial, as alterations in the zooplankton communities can affect entire marine ecosystems. Despite the economic and ecological importance of the calanoid copepod Temora longicornis in the Belgian part of the North Sea, molecular data is still very limited for this species. Using HiSeq Illumina sequencing, we sequenced the whole transcriptome of T. longicornis, after being exposed to realistic temperatures of 14 and 17 °C. After both an acute (1 day) and a more sustained (5 days) thermal exposure to 17 °C, we investigated gene expression differences with animals exposed to 14 °C, which may be critical for the thermal acclimation and resilience of this copepod species. We also studied the possibility of a short term stress recovery of a heat shock. A total of 179,569 transcripts were yielded, of which 44,985 putative ORF transcripts were identified. These transcripts were subsequently annotated into roughly 22,000 genes based on known sequences using Gene Ontology (GO) and KEGG databases. Temora only showed a mild response to both the temperature and the duration of the exposure. We found that the expression of 27 transcripts varied significantly with an increase in temperature of 3 °C, of which eight transcripts were differentially expressed after acute exposure only. Gene set enrichment analysis revealed that, overall, T. longicornis was more impacted by a sustained thermal exposure, rather than an immediate (acute) exposure, with two times as many enriched GO terms in the sustained treatment. We also identified several general stress responses independent of exposure time, such as modified protein synthesis, energy mobilisation, cuticle and chaperone proteins. Finally, we highlighted candidate genes of a possible recovery from heat exposure, identifying similar terms as those enriched in the heat treatments, i.e. related to for example energy metabolism, cuticle genes and extracellular matrix. The data presented in this study provides the first transcriptome available for T. longicornis which can be used for future genomicstudies.


Full reference (link):

Semmouri, I., Asselman, J., Van Nieuwerburgh, F., Deforce, D., Janssen, C., & De Schamphelaere, K. (2018). The transcriptome of the marine calanoid copepod Temora longicornis under heat stress and recovery. (I. Sokolova, Ed.)Marine Environmental Research.