December 2020
Vol 5, Issue 54

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Coral Calamity. This month's cover is an underwater photograph showing a bleached stony coral (genus Pocillopora) on a reef near American Samoa. Bleaching occurs in stressed coral and is associated with environmental perturbations, including increased ocean temperature. Pathogenic bacteria such as Vibrio coralliilyticus contribute to coral damage associated with ocean warming. Jiang et al. identified gene sequences in several coral species with homology to gasdermin E, a vertebrate pore-forming protein involved in cell death by pyroptosis. They found that coral gasdermin E cleavage after bacterial infection requires caspase-3 and liberates an N-terminal domain capable of inducing pyroptotic cell death. [CREDIT: ISTOCK.COM/DAMOCEAN]