Identification of a new gene family expressed during the onset of sexual reproduction in the centric diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii. (1/503)

An intriguing feature of the diatom life cycle is that sexual reproduction and the generation of genetic diversity are coupled to the control of cell size. A PCR-based cDNA subtraction technique was used to identify genes that are expressed as small cells of the centric diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii initiate gametogenesis. Ten genes that are up-regulated during the early stages of sexual reproduction have been identified thus far. Three of the sexually induced genes, Sig1, Sig2, and Sig3, were sequenced to completion and are members of a novel gene family. The three polypeptides encoded by these genes possess different molecular masses and charges but display many features in common: they share five highly conserved domains; they each contain three or more cysteine-rich epithelial growth factor (EGF)-like repeats; and they each display homology to the EGF-like region of the vertebrate extracellular matrix glycoprotein tenascin X. Interestingly, the five conserved domains appear in the same order in each polypeptide but are separated by variable numbers of nonconserved amino acids. SIG1 and SIG2 display putative regulatory domains within the nonconserved regions. A calcium-binding, EF-hand motif is found in SIG1, and an ATP/GTP binding motif is present in SIG2. The striking similarity between the SIG polypeptides and extracellular matrix components commonly involved in cell-cell interactions suggests that the SIG polypeptides may play a role in sperm-egg recognition. The SIG polypeptides are thus important molecular targets for determining when and where sexual reproduction occurs in the field.  (+info)

Algae displaying the diadinoxanthin cycle also possess the violaxanthin cycle. (2/503)

According to general agreement, all photosynthetic organisms using xanthophyll cycling for photoprotection contain either the violaxanthin (Vx) cycle or the diadinoxanthin (Ddx) cycle instead. Here, we report the temporal accumulation of substantial amounts of pigments of the Vx cycle under prolonged high-light stress in several microalgae thought to possess only the Ddx cycle. In the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum, used as a model organism, these pigments also participate in xanthophyll cycling, and their accumulation depends on de novo synthesis of carotenoids and on deepoxidase activity. Furthermore, our data strongly suggest a biosynthetic sequence from Vx via Ddx to fucoxanthin in P. tricornutum. This gives experimental support to the long-stated hypothesis that Vx is a common precursor of all carotenoids with an allenic or acetylenic group, including the main light-harvesting carotenoids in most chlorophyll a/c-containing algae. Thus, another important function for xanthophyll cycling may be to optimize the biosynthesis of light-harvesting xanthophylls under fluctuating light conditions.  (+info)

Centric diatom morphogenesis: a model based on a DLA algorithm investigating the potential role of microtubules. (3/503)

Diatoms are single-celled algae which possess characteristic rigid cell walls (frustules) composed of amorphous silica. Frustule formation occurs within a specialised organelle termed the silica deposition vesicle (SDV). During diatom morphogenesis, silica particles are transported to the SDV by silica transport vesicles. Once released within the SDV, the particles are then thought to diffuse until they encounter part of the growing aggregate upon which they adhere. The particles may then undergo a further period of surface relocalisation (sintering) which leads to a smoothing of the surface. A number of computer simulations based on a modified diffusion-limited aggregation (DLA) algorithm, have been undertaken to investigate the potential role of microtubules (which are known to be associated with the periphery of the SDV) in localising deposition of new siliceous material. Based on our findings, we present a new model of diatom morphogenesis which is able to account for many morphological features of diatoms including the influence of environmental effects such as changes in pH and salinity, and the formation of a regular branched pattern.  (+info)

Polycationic peptides from diatom biosilica that direct silica nanosphere formation. (4/503)

Diatom cell walls are regarded as a paradigm for controlled production of nanostructured silica, but the mechanisms allowing biosilicification to proceed at ambient temperature at high rates have remained enigmatic. A set of polycationic peptides (called silaffins) isolated from diatom cell walls were shown to generate networks of silica nanospheres within seconds when added to a solution of silicic acid. Silaffins contain covalently modified lysine-lysine elements. The first lysine bears a polyamine consisting of 6 to 11 repeats of the N-methyl-propylamine unit. The second lysine was identified as epsilon-N,N-dimethyl-lysine. These modifications drastically influence the silica-precipitating activity of silaffins.  (+info)

Dynamics of bacterial community composition and activity during a mesocosm diatom bloom. (5/503)

Bacterial community composition, enzymatic activities, and carbon dynamics were examined during diatom blooms in four 200-liter laboratory seawater mesocosms. The objective was to determine whether the dramatic shifts in growth rates and ectoenzyme activities, which are commonly observed during the course of phytoplankton blooms and their subsequent demise, could result from shifts in bacterial community composition. Nutrient enrichment of metazoan-free seawater resulted in diatom blooms dominated by a Thalassiosira sp., which peaked 9 days after enrichment ( approximately 24 microg of chlorophyll a liter(-1)). At this time bacterial abundance abruptly decreased from 2.8 x 10(6) to 0.75 x 10(6) ml(-1), and an analysis of bacterial community composition, by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of PCR-amplified 16S rRNA gene fragments, revealed the disappearance of three dominant phylotypes. Increased viral and flagellate abundances suggested that both lysis and grazing could have played a role in the observed phylotype-specific mortality. Subsequently, new phylotypes appeared and bacterial production, abundance, and enzyme activities shifted from being predominantly associated with the <1.0-microm size fraction towards the >1.0-microm size fraction, indicating a pronounced microbial colonization of particles. Sequencing of DGGE bands suggested that the observed rapid and extensive colonization of particulate matter was mainly by specialized alpha-Proteobacteria- and Cytophagales-related phylotypes. These particle-associated bacteria had high growth rates as well as high cell-specific aminopeptidase, beta-glucosidase, and lipase activities. Rate measurements as well as bacterial population dynamics were almost identical among the mesocosms indicating that the observed bacterial community dynamics were systematic and repeatable responses to the manipulated conditions.  (+info)

beta-cyanoalanine production by marine bacteria on cyanide-free medium and its specific inhibitory activity toward cyanobacteria. (6/503)

In screening the culture broth of marine bacteria collected at Yap (Micronesia), Palau (Belau), and Okinawa (the southwest islands of Japan) for antimicroalgal activity, 37 out of 2,594 bacterial isolates tested were found to produce anticyanobacterial substances against Oscillatoria amphibia NIES-361. One strain, C-979, identified as a Vibrio sp., was selected and cultured in 2.4 liters of marine broth 2216 to identify the bioactive compound produced by the strain. The purified very hydrophilic compound (16.4 mg) was determined to be beta-cyano-L-alanine (L-CNAla) by instrumental analyses and the application of the advanced Marfey method. L-CNAla did not inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeast, or eukaryotic microalgae, but some cyanobacteria were found to be sensitive to L-CNAla at a concentration of 0.4 to 25 microg/ml. The effect of L-CNAla on some other environmental organisms, including invertebrates and a macroalgae, is discussed. CNAla production in marine broth was examined by thin-layer chromatography for the 37 bacterial isolates which produced an anticyanobacterial substance. The broth of 36 of these strains contained CNAla, suggesting the wide distribution of CNAla production by marine bacteria. This is the first report on bacteria that produce CNAla without a supply of the cyanide ion in the medium.  (+info)

Compartment-specific isoforms of TPI and GAPDH are imported into diatom mitochondria as a fusion protein: evidence in favor of a mitochondrial origin of the eukaryotic glycolytic pathway. (7/503)

Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and triosephosphate isomerase (TPI) are essential to glycolysis, the major route of carbohydrate breakdown in eukaryotes. In animals and other heterotrophic eukaryotes, both enzymes are localized in the cytosol; in photosynthetic eukaryotes, GAPDH and TPI exist as isoenzymes that function in the glycolytic pathway of the cytosol and in the Calvin cycle of chloroplasts. Here, we show that diatoms--photosynthetic protists that acquired their plastids through secondary symbiotic engulfment of a eukaryotic rhodophyte--possess an additional isoenzyme each of both GAPDH and TPI. Surprisingly, these new forms are expressed as an TPI-GAPDH fusion protein which is imported into mitochondria prior to its assembly into a tetrameric bifunctional enzyme complex. Homologs of this translational fusion are shown to be conserved and expressed also in nonphotosynthetic, heterokont-flagellated oomycetes. Phylogenetic analyses show that mitochondrial GAPDH and its N-terminal TPI fusion branch deeply within their respective eukaryotic protein phylogenies, suggesting that diatom mitochondria may have retained an ancestral state of glycolytic compartmentation that existed at the onset of mitochondrial symbiosis. These findings strongly support the view that nuclear genes for enzymes of glycolysis in eukaryotes were acquired from mitochondrial genomes and provide new insights into the evolutionary history (host-symbiont relationships) of diatoms and other heterokont-flagellated protists.  (+info)

Parasitic diatoms inside antarctic sponges. (8/503)

Antarctic sponges may host large populations of planktonic and benthic diatoms. After settling on the sponge, these diatoms enter its body through pinacocytes (1) and form, there, large mono- or pauci-specific assemblages. Yet the total amount of carbohydrates in the invaded sponge tissue is inversely correlated with that of chlorophyll-a. We suggest, therefore, that endobiont diatoms utilize the products of the metabolism of their host as an energy source. This is the first evidence indicating that an endobiotic autotrophic organism may parasitize its animal host. Moreover, this unusual symbiotic behavior could be a successful strategy that allows the diatom to survive in darkness.  (+info)