Title: Chemical Ecology of Marine Sponges: New Opportunities through "-Omics".
Authors: Paul, Valerie J; Freeman, Christopher J; Agarwal, Vinayak
Published In Integr Comp Biol, (2019 10 01)
Abstract: The chemical ecology and chemical defenses of sponges have been investigated for decades; consequently, sponges are among the best understood marine organisms in terms of their chemical ecology, from the level of molecules to ecosystems. Thousands of natural products have been isolated and characterized from sponges, and although relatively few of these compounds have been studied for their ecological functions, some are known to serve as chemical defenses against predators, microorganisms, fouling organisms, and other competitors. Sponges are hosts to an exceptional diversity of microorganisms, with almost 40 microbial phyla found in these associations to date. Microbial community composition and abundance are highly variable across host taxa, with a continuum from diverse assemblages of many microbial taxa to those that are dominated by a single microbial group. Microbial communities expand the nutritional repertoire of their hosts by providing access to inorganic and dissolved sources of nutrients. Not only does this continuum of microorganism-sponge associations lead to divergent nutritional characteristics in sponges, these associated microorganisms and symbionts have long been suspected, and are now known, to biosynthesize some of the natural products found in sponges. Modern "omics" tools provide ways to study these sponge-microbe associations that would have been difficult even a decade ago. Metabolomics facilitate comparisons of sponge compounds produced within and among taxa, and metagenomics and metatranscriptomics provide tools to understand the biology of host-microbe associations and the biosynthesis of ecologically relevant natural products. These combinations of ecological, microbiological, metabolomic and genomics tools, and techniques provide unprecedented opportunities to advance sponge biology and chemical ecology across many marine ecosystems.
PubMed ID: 30942859
MeSH Terms: Animals; Aquatic Organisms/genetics; Aquatic Organisms/physiology; Genome/physiology*; Host Microbial Interactions*; Microbiota; Porifera/genetics; Porifera/microbiology; Porifera/physiology*; Transcriptome/physiology*