A de novo transcriptome assembly for the bath sponge Spongia officinalis, adjusting for microsymbionts

BMC Res Notes. 2019 Dec 18;12(1):813. doi: 10.1186/s13104-019-4843-6.


Objectives: We report a transcriptome acquisition for the bath sponge Spongia officinalis, a non-model marine organism that hosts rich symbiotic microbial communities. To this end, a pipeline was developed to efficiently separate between bacterial expressed genes from those of eukaryotic origin. The transcriptome was produced to support the assessment of gene expression and, thus, the response of the sponge, to elevated temperatures, replicating conditions currently occurring in its native habitat.

Data description: We describe the assembled transcriptome along with the bioinformatic pipeline used to discriminate between signals of metazoan and prokaryotic origin. The pipeline involves standard read pre-processing steps and incorporates extra analyses to identify and filter prokaryotic reads out of the analysis. The proposed pipeline can be followed to overcome the technical RNASeq problems characteristic for symbiont-rich metazoan organisms with low or non-existent tissue differentiation, such as sponges and cnidarians. At the same time, it can be valuable towards the development of approaches for parallel transcriptomic studies of symbiotic communities and the host.

Keywords: Bioinformatics; Heat stress; Marine invertebrate; Porifera; Prokaryotic symbionts; RNAseq.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquatic Organisms / genetics
  • Aquatic Organisms / metabolism
  • Computational Biology
  • Greece
  • Microbiota / genetics*
  • Phylogeny
  • Porifera / genetics*
  • Porifera / microbiology
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • RNA-Seq / methods
  • Symbiosis / genetics*
  • Transcriptome / genetics*


  • RNA, Ribosomal