MALDI-MS and NanoSIMS imaging techniques to study cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbioses
Cnidarian-dinoflagellate photosynthetic symbioses are fundamental to biologically diverse and productive coral reef ecosystems. The hallmark of this symbiotic relationship is the ability of dinoflagellate symbionts to supply their cnidarian host with a wide range of nutrients. Many aspects of this association nevertheless remain poorly characterized, including the exact identity of the transferred metabolic compounds, the mechanisms that control their exchange across the host-symbiont interface, and the precise subcellular fate of the translocated materials in cnidarian tissues. This lack of knowledge is mainly attributed to difficulties in investigating such metabolic interactions both in situ, i.e. on intact symbiotic associations, and at high spatial resolution. To address these issues, we illustrate the application of two in situ and high spatial resolution molecular and ion imaging techniques-matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI) and the nano-scale secondary-ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) ion microprobe. These imaging techniques provide important new opportunities for the detailed investigation of many aspects of cnidarian-dinoflagellate associations, including the dynamics of cellular interactions. (C) 2014 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.