Background and Aims
Consensus higher-level molecular phylogenies present a compelling case that an ancient divergence separates eukaryotic green algae into two major monophyletic lineages, Chlorophyta and Streptophyta, and a residuum of green algae, which have been referred to prasinophytes or micromonadophytes. Nuclear DNA content estimates have been published for less than 1% of the described green algal members of Chlorophyta, which includes multicellular green marine algae and freshwater flagellates (e.g. Chlamydomonas and Volvox). The present investigation summarizes the state of our knowledge and adds substantially to our database of C-values, especially for the streptophyte charophycean lineage which is the sister group of the land plants. A recent list of 2C nuclear DNA contents for isolates and species of green algae is expanded by 72 to 157.
The DNA-localizing fluorochrome DAPI (4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole) and red blood cell (chicken erythrocytes) standard were used to estimate 2C values with static microspectrophotometry.
In Chlorophyta, including Chlorophyceae, Prasinophyceae, Trebouxiophyceae and Ulvophyceae, 2C DNA estimates range from 0·01 to 5·8 pg. Nuclear DNA content variation trends are noted and discussed for specific problematic taxon pairs, including Ulotrichales–Ulvales, and Cladophorales–Siphonocladales. For Streptophyta, 2C nuclear DNA contents range from 0·2 to 6·4 pg, excluding the highly polyploid Charales and Desmidiales, which have genome sizes of up to 14·8 and 46·8 pg, respectively. Nuclear DNA content data for Streptophyta superimposed on a contemporary molecular phylogeny indicate that early diverging lineages, including some members of Chlorokybales, Coleochaetales and Klebsormidiales, have genomes as small as 0·1–0·5 pg. It is proposed that the streptophyte ancestral nuclear genome common to both the charophyte and the embryophyte lineages can be characterized as 1C = 0·2 pg and 1n = 6.
These data will help pre-screen candidate species for the on-going construction of bacterial artificial chromosome nuclear genome libraries for land plant ancestors. Data for the prasinophyte Mesostigma are of particular interest as this alga reportedly most closely resembles the ‘ancestral green flagellate’. Both mechanistic and ecological processes are discussed that could have produced the observed C-value increase of >100-fold in the charophyte green algae whereas the ancestral genome was conserved in the embryophytes.
‘Ancestral green flagellate’ (AGF); C-value enigma; chlorophyta; DNA C-values; nuclear genome size; Streptophyta
Use of the DNA-specific fluorochrome 4'6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) makes it possible to examine in situ the structure of chloroplast DNA (chDNA) with the fluorescence microscope. This simplifies the study of genetic and developmental changes in chloroplast DNA. Three examples are presented. (a) Wild-type Euglena gracilis B contains several chloroplast DNA nucleoids per chloroplast. A yellow mutant lacking functional chloroplasts is similar, but such nucleoids are absent in an aplastidic mutant strain known from biochemical studies to have lost its chDNA. (b) In vegetative cells of the giant-celled marine algae Acetabularia and Batophora, only about a quarter of the chloroplasts have even one discernible chloroplast DNA particle, and such particles vary in size, showing a 30-fold variation in the amount of DNA-bound DAPI fluorescence detected per chloroplast. By contrast, 98% of chloroplasts in developing Acetabularia cysts contain chDNA, with as many as nine nucleoids per chloroplast. (c) DAPI- stained chloroplasts of chromophyte algae display the peripheral ring of DNA expected from electron microscope studies. However, these rings are not uniform in thickness, but are necklace-like, with the appearance of beads on a string. Since the multiple nucleoids in plastids of chlorophyte algae also appear to be interconnected throughout the chloroplast, a common structural plan may underlie chDNA morphology in both groups of algae.
Brown algae represent a major component of littoral and sublittoral zones in temperate and subtropical ecosystems. An essential adaptive feature of this independent eukaryotic lineage is the ability to couple oxidative reactions resulting from exposure to sunlight and air with the halogenations of various substrates, thereby addressing various biotic and abiotic stresses i.e., defense against predators, tissue repair, holdfast adhesion, and protection against reactive species generated by oxidative processes. Whereas marine organisms mainly make use of bromine to increase the biological activity of secondary metabolites, some orders of brown algae such as Laminariales have also developed a striking capability to accumulate and to use iodine in physiological adaptations to stress. We review selected aspects of the halogenated metabolism of macrophytic brown algae in the light of the most recent results, which point toward novel functions for iodide accumulation in kelps and the importance of bromination in cell wall modifications and adhesion properties of brown algal propagules. The importance of halogen speciation processes ranges from microbiology to biogeochemistry, through enzymology, cellular biology and ecotoxicology.
halogen speciation; brown algae; defense metabolites; haloperoxidases; biogeochemistry
This paper compiles and discusses all currently available nuclear genome size data for red algae in relation to their most recent taxonomic classification.
Background and aims
The red algae are an evolutionarily ancient group of predominantly marine organisms with an estimated 6000 species. Consensus higher-level molecular phylogenies support a basal split between the unicellular Cyanidiophytina and morphologically diverse Rhodophytina, the later subphylum containing most red algal species. The Rhodophytina is divided into six classes, of which five represent early diverging lineages of generally uninucleate species, whose evolutionary relationships are poorly resolved. The remaining species compose the large (27 currently recognized orders), morphologically diverse and typically multinucleate Florideophyceae. Nuclear DNA content estimates have been published for <1 % of the described red algae. The present investigation summarizes the state of our knowledge and expands our coverage of DNA content information from 196 isolates of red algae.
The DNA-localizing fluorochrome DAPI (4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole) and RBC (chicken erythrocytes) standards were used to estimate 2C values with static microspectrophotometry.
Nuclear DNA contents are reported for 196 isolates of red algae, almost doubling the number of estimates available for these organisms. Present results also confirm the reported DNA content range of 0.1–2.8 pg, with species of Ceramiales, Nemaliales and Palmariales containing apparently polyploid genomes with 2C = 2.8, 2.3 and 2.8 pg, respectively.
Early diverging red algal lineages are characterized by relatively small 2C DNA contents while a wide range of 2C values is found within the derived Florideophyceae. An overall correlation between phylogenetic placement and 2C DNA content is not apparent; however, genome size data are available for only a small portion of red algae. Current data do support polyploidy and aneuploidy as pervasive features of red algal genome evolution.
Inositol and choline were present in varying amounts among the species of Rhodophyta, Phaeophyta, Chlorophyta, and Euglenophyta examined. However, in the two members of the order Fucales (division Phaeophyta) examined, no detectable amounts of choline were found. In contrast, the species of Cyanophyta examined contained no detectable amounts of either choline or inositol. All species of the fungal classes Phycomyceteae, Ascomyceteae, and Basidiomyceteae collected contained both inositol and choline in varying amounts. The red, brown, and blue-green algae usually contained much less inositol and choline than do plant and animals sources, but the fungi and the algae Chlorella and Euglena contained amounts comparable to those present in plant sources.
Even though it is widely accepted that bacterioplankton growth in lakes and marine ecosystems is determined by the trophic status of the systems, knowledge of the relationship between nutrient concentrations and growth of particular bacterial species is almost nonexistent. To address this question, we performed a series of culture experiments with water from Lake Kinneret (Israel), the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and the Gulf of Eilat (northern Red Sea). In the initial water samples, the proportion of CFU was typically <0.002% of the 4′,6′-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) counts. During incubation until the early stationary phase, the proportion of CFU increased to 20% of the DAPI counts and to 2 to 15% of the DAPI counts in unenriched lake water and seawater dilution cultures, respectively. Sequencing of the 16S ribosomal DNA of colony-forming bacteria in these cultures consistently revealed an abundance of α-proteobacteria, but notable phylogenetic differences were found at the genus level. Marine dilution cultures were dominated by bacteria in the Roseobacter clade, while lake dilution cultures were dominated by bacteria affiliated with the genera Sphingomonas and Caulobacter. In nutrient (glucose, ammonium, phosphate) addition experiments the CFU comprised 20 to 83% of the newly grown cells. In these incubation experiments fast-growing γ-proteobacteria dominated; in the marine experiments primarily different Vibrio and Alteromonas species appeared, while in the lake water experiments species of the genera Shewanella, Aeromonas, and Rheinheimera grew. These results suggest that major, but different, γ-proteobacterial genera in both freshwater and marine environments have a preference for elevated concentrations of nutrients and easily assimilated organic carbon sources but are selectively outcompeted by α-proteobacteria in the presence of low nutrient concentrations.
Epigenetics include DNA methylation, the modification of histone tails that affect chromatin states, and small RNAs that are involved in the setting and maintenance of chromatin modifications. Marine stramenopiles (MAS), which are a diverse assemblage of algae that acquired photosynthesis from secondary endosymbiosis, include single-celled organisms such as diatoms as well as multicellular forms such as brown algae. The recent publication of two diatom genomes that diverged ~90 million years ago (mya), as well as the one of a brown algae that diverged from diatoms ~250 Mya, provide a great system of related, yet diverged set of organisms to compare epigenetic marks and their relationships. For example, putative DNA methyltransferase homologues were found in diatoms while none could be identified in the brown algal genome. On the other hand, no canonical DICER-like protein was found in diatoms in contrast to what is observed in brown algae. A key interest relies in understanding the adaptive nature of epigenetics and its inheritability. In contrast to yeast that lack DNA methylation, homogeneous cultures of diatoms constitute an attractive system to study epigenetic changes in response to environmental conditions such as nutrient-rich to nutrient-poor transitions which is especially relevant because of their ecological importance. P. tricornutum is also of outstanding interest because it is observed as three different morphotypes and thus constitutes a simple and promising model for the study of the epigenetic phenomena that accompany cellular differentiation. In this review we focus on the insights obtained from MAS comparative genomics and epigenomic analyses.
Marine stramenopiles; epigenomics; DNA methylation; chromatin; diatom; genomics; Small RNA; Brown algae; Transposable elements.
Caulerpa species are marine green algae, which often act as invasive species with rapid clonal proliferation when growing outside their native biogeographical borders. Despite many publications on the genetics and ecology of Caulerpa species, their life history and ploidy levels are still to be resolved and are the subject of large controversy. While some authors claimed that the thallus found in nature has a haplodiplobiontic life cycle with heteromorphic alternation of generations, other authors claimed a diploid or haploid life cycle with only one generation involved. DAPI-staining with image analysis and microspectrophotometry were used to estimate relative nuclear DNA contents in three species of Caulerpa from the Mediterranean, at individual, population and species levels. Results show that ploidy levels and genome size vary in these three Caulerpa species, with a reduction in genome size for the invasive ones. Caulerpa species in the Mediterranean are polyploids in different life history phases; all sampled C. taxifolia and C. racemosa var. cylindracea were in haplophasic phase, but in C. prolifera, the native species, individuals were found in both diplophasic and haplophasic phases. Different levels of endopolyploidy were found in both C. prolifera and C. racemosa var. cylindracea. Life history is elucidated for the Mediterranean C. prolifera and it is hypothesized that haplophasic dominance in C. racemosa var. cylindracea and C. taxifolia is a beneficial trait for their invasive strategies.
A major limitation for the use of two-proton laser scanning microscopy (2P-LSM) in biofilm and other studies is the lack of a thorough understanding of the excitation-emission responses of potential fluorochromes. In order to use 2P-LSM, the utility of various fluorochromes and probes specific for a range of biofilm constituents must be evaluated. The fluorochromes tested in this study included classical nucleic acid-specific stains, such as acridine orange (AO) and 4",6"-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI), as well as recently developed stains. In addition, stains specific for biofilm extracellular polymeric substances (EPS matrix components) were tested. Two-photon excitation with a Ti/Sapphire laser was carried out at wavelengths from 760 to 900 nm in 10-nm steps. It was found that autofluorescence of phototrophic organisms (cyanobacteria and green algae) resulted in strong signals for the entire excitation range. In addition, the coenzyme F420-related autofluorescence of methanogenic bacteria could be used to obtain images of dense aggregates (excitation wavelength, 780 nm). The intensities of the emission signals for the nucleic acid-specific fluorochromes varied. For example, the intensities were similar for excitation wavelengths ranging from 780 to 900 nm for AO but were higher for a narrower range, 780 to 810 nm, for DAPI. In selective excitation, fading, multiple staining, and combined single-photon-two-photon studies, the recently developed nucleic acid-specific fluorochromes proved to be more suitable regardless of whether they are intended for living or fixed samples. Probes specific for proteins and glycoconjugates allowed two-photon imaging of polymeric biofilm constituents. Selective excitation-emission was observed for Calcofluor White M2R (780 to 800 nm) and SyproOrange (880 to 900 nm). In addition, fluor-conjugated concanavalin A lectins were examined and provided acceptable two-photon emission signals at wavelengths ranging from 780 to 800 nm. Finally, CellTracker, a fluorochrome suitable for long-term labeling of microbial eucaryote cells, was found to give strong emission at wavelengths ranging from 770 to 810 nm. If fluorochromes have the same two-photon excitation cross section, they are suitable for multiple staining and multichannel recording. Generally, if an appropriate excitation wavelength and fluorochrome were used, it was possible to obtain more highly resolved images for thick biofilm samples with two-photon laser microscopy than with conventional single-photon laser microscopy. Due to its potential for higher resolution in light-scattering tissue-like material, such as biofilms, and extremely localized excitation, 2P-LSM is a valuable addition to conventional confocal laser scanning microscopy with single-photon excitation. However, further development of the method and basic research are necessary to take full advantage of nonlinear excitation in studies of interfacial microbial ecology.
Algae are a large group of aquatic, typically photosynthetic, eukaryotes that include species from very diverse phylogenetic lineages, from those similar to land plants to those related to protist parasites. The recent sequencing of several algal genomes has provided insights into the great complexity of these organisms. Genomic information has also emphasized our lack of knowledge of the functions of many predicted genes, as well as the gene regulatory mechanisms in algae. Core components of the machinery for RNA-mediated silencing show widespread distribution among algal lineages, but they also seem to have been lost entirely from several species with relatively small nuclear genomes. Complex sets of endogenous small RNAs, including candidate microRNAs and small interfering RNAs, have now been identified by high-throughput sequencing in green, red, and brown algae. However, the natural roles of RNA-mediated silencing in algal biology remain poorly understood. Limited evidence suggests that small RNAs may function, in different algae, in defense mechanisms against transposon mobilization, in responses to nutrient deprivation and, possibly, in the regulation of recently evolved developmental processes. From a practical perspective, RNA interference (RNAi) is becoming a promising tool for assessing gene function by sequence-specific knockdown. Transient gene silencing, triggered with exogenously synthesized nucleic acids, and/or stable gene repression, involving genome-integrated transgenes, have been achieved in green algae, diatoms, yellow-green algae, and euglenoids. The development of RNAi technology in conjunction with system level “omics” approaches may provide the tools needed to advance our understanding of algal physiological and metabolic processes.
Mannitol plays a central role in brown algal physiology since it represents an important pathway used to store photoassimilate. Several specific enzymes are directly involved in the synthesis and recycling of mannitol, altogether forming the mannitol cycle. The recent analysis of algal genomes has allowed tracing back the origin of this cycle in brown seaweeds to a horizontal gene transfer from bacteria, and furthermore suggested a subsequent transfer to the green micro-alga Micromonas. Interestingly, genes of the mannitol cycle were not found in any of the currently sequenced diatoms, but were recently discovered in pelagophytes and dictyochophytes. In this study, we quantified the mannitol content in a number of ochrophytes (autotrophic stramenopiles) from different classes, as well as in Micromonas. Our results show that, in accordance with recent observations from EST libraries and genome analyses, this polyol is produced by most ochrophytes, as well as the green alga tested, although it was found at a wide range of concentrations. Thus, the mannitol cycle was probably acquired by a common ancestor of most ochrophytes, possibly after the separation from diatoms, and may play different physiological roles in different classes.
algae; stramenopiles; mannitol cycle; primary metabolism; osmotic stress; evolution
The brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus, unlike terrestrial plants, undergoes extensive reprogramming of its transcriptome during the acclimation to mild abiotic stress.
Brown algae (Phaeophyceae) are phylogenetically distant from red and green algae and an important component of the coastal ecosystem. They have developed unique mechanisms that allow them to inhabit the intertidal zone, an environment with high levels of abiotic stress. Ectocarpus siliculosus is being established as a genetic and genomic model for the brown algal lineage, but little is known about its response to abiotic stress.
Here we examine the transcriptomic changes that occur during the short-term acclimation of E. siliculosus to three different abiotic stress conditions (hyposaline, hypersaline and oxidative stress). Our results show that almost 70% of the expressed genes are regulated in response to at least one of these stressors. Although there are several common elements with terrestrial plants, such as repression of growth-related genes, switching from primary production to protein and nutrient recycling processes, and induction of genes involved in vesicular trafficking, many of the stress-regulated genes are either not known to respond to stress in other organisms or are have been found exclusively in E. siliculosus.
This first large-scale transcriptomic study of a brown alga demonstrates that, unlike terrestrial plants, E. siliculosus undergoes extensive reprogramming of its transcriptome during the acclimation to mild abiotic stress. We identify several new genes and pathways with a putative function in the stress response and thus pave the way for more detailed investigations of the mechanisms underlying the stress tolerance ofbrown algae.
Ectocarpus siliculosus virus-1 (EsV-1) is a lysogenic dsDNA virus belonging to the super family of nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDV) that infect Ectocarpus siliculosus, a marine filamentous brown alga. Previous studies indicated that the viral genome is integrated into the host DNA. In order to find the integration sites of the viral genome, a genomic library from EsV-1-infected algae was screened using labelled EsV-1 DNA. Several fragments were isolated and some of them were sequenced and analyzed in detail.
Analysis revealed that the algal genome is split by a copy of viral sequences that have a high identity to EsV-1 DNA sequences. These fragments are interspersed with DNA repeats, pseudogenes and genes coding for products involved in DNA replication, integration and transposition. Some of these gene products are not encoded by EsV-1 but are present in the genome of other members of the NCLDV family. Further analysis suggests that the Ectocarpus algal genome contains traces of the integration of a large dsDNA viral genome; this genome could be the ancestor of the extant NCLDV genomes. Furthermore, several lines of evidence indicate that the EsV-1 genome might have originated in these viral DNA pieces, implying the existence of a complex integration and recombination system. A protein similar to a new class of tyrosine recombinases might be a key enzyme of this system.
Our results support the hypothesis that some dsDNA viruses are monophyletic and evolved principally through genome reduction. Moreover, we hypothesize that phaeoviruses have probably developed an original replication system.
The repetitive landscapes of mammalian genomes typically display high Class I (retrotransposon) transposable element (TE) content, which usually comprises around half of the genome. In contrast, the Class II (DNA transposon) contribution is typically small (<3% in model mammals). Most mammalian genomes exhibit a precipitous decline in Class II activity beginning roughly 40 Ma. The first signs of more recently active mammalian Class II TEs were obtained from the little brown bat, Myotis lucifugus, and are reflected by higher genome content (∼5%). To aid in determining taxonomic limits and potential impacts of this elevated Class II activity, we performed 454 survey sequencing of a second Myotis species as well as four additional taxa within the family Vespertilionidae and an outgroup species from Phyllostomidae. Graph-based clustering methods were used to reconstruct the major repeat families present in each species and novel elements were identified in several taxa. Retrotransposons remained the dominant group with regard to overall genome mass. Elevated Class II TE composition (3–4%) was observed in all five vesper bats, while less than 0.5% of the phyllostomid reads were identified as Class II derived. Differences in satellite DNA and Class I TE content are also described among vespertilionid taxa. These analyses present the first cohesive description of TE evolution across closely related mammalian species, revealing genome-scale differences in TE content within a single family.
transposon; survey sequencing; Chiroptera
Turf algae are multispecies communities of small marine macrophytes that are becoming a dominant component of coral reef communities around the world. To assess the impact of turf algae on corals, we investigated the effects of increased nutrients (eutrophication) on the interaction between the Caribbean coral Montastraea annularis and turf algae at their growth boundary. We also assessed whether herbivores are capable of reducing the abundance of turf algae at coral-algae boundaries. We found that turf algae cause visible (overgrowth) and invisible negative effects (reduced fitness) on neighbouring corals. Corals can overgrow neighbouring turf algae very slowly (at a rate of 0.12 mm 3 wk−1) at ambient nutrient concentrations, but turf algae overgrew corals (at a rate of 0.34 mm 3 wk−1) when nutrients were experimentally increased. Exclusion of herbivores had no measurable effect on the rate turf algae overgrew corals. We also used PAM fluorometry (a common approach for measuring of a colony's “fitness”) to detect the effects of turf algae on the photophysiology of neighboring corals. Turf algae always reduced the effective photochemical efficiency of neighbouring corals, regardless of nutrient and/or herbivore conditions. The findings that herbivores are not capable of controlling the abundance of turf algae and that nutrient enrichment gives turf algae an overall competitive advantage over corals together have serious implications for the health of Caribbean coral reef systems. At ambient nutrient levels, traditional conservation measures aimed at reversing coral-to-algae phase shifts by reducing algal abundance (i.e., increasing herbivore populations by establishing Marine Protected Areas or tightening fishing regulations) will not necessarily reduce the negative impact of turf algae on local coral communities. Because turf algae have become the most abundant benthic group on Curaçao (and likely elsewhere in the Caribbean), new conservation strategies are required to mitigate their negative impact on coral communities.
Understanding the processes driving speciation in marine ecosystems remained a challenge until recently, due to the unclear nature of dispersal boundaries. However, recent evidence for marine adaptive radiations and ecological speciation, as well as previously undetected patterns of cryptic speciation is overturning this view. Here, we use multi-gene phylogenetics to infer the family-level evolutionary history of Fucaceae (intertidal brown algae of the northern Pacific and Atlantic) in order to investigate recent and unique patterns of radiative speciation in the genus Fucus in the Atlantic, in contrast with the mainly monospecific extant genera.
We developed a set of markers from 13 protein coding genes based on polymorphic cDNA from EST libraries, which provided novel resolution allowing estimation of ancestral character states and a detailed reconstruction of the recent radiative history. Phylogenetic reconstructions yielded similar topologies and revealed four independent trans-Arctic colonization events by Fucaceae lineages, two of which also involved transitions from hermaphroditism to dioecy associated with Atlantic invasions. More recently, reversion of dioecious ancestral lineages towards hermaphroditism has occurred in the genus Fucus, particularly coinciding with colonization of more extreme habitats. Novel lineages in the genus Fucus were also revealed in association with southern habitats. These most recent speciation events occurred during the Pleistocene glaciations and coincided with a shift towards selfing mating systems, generally southward shifts in distribution, and invasion of novel habitats.
Diversification of the family occurred in the Late-Mid Miocene, with at least four independent trans-Artic lineage crossings coincident with two reproductive mode transitions. The genus Fucus arose in the Pliocene but radiated within a relatively short time frame about 2.5 million years ago. Current species distributions of Fucus suggest that climatic factors promoted differentiation between the two major clades, while the recent and rapid species radiation in the temperate clade during Pleistocene glacial cycles coincided with several potential speciation drivers.
Multicellular marine plants were collected from their natural habitats and the quantum efficiency of their photosynthesis was determined in the laboratory in five narrow wave length bands in the visible spectrum. The results along with estimates of the relative absorption by the various plastid pigments show a fairly uniform efficiency of 0.08 molecules O2 per absorbed quantum for (a) chlorophyll of one flowering plant, green algae, and brown algae, (b) fucoxanthol and other carotenoids of brown algae, and (c) the phycobilin pigments phycocyanin and phycoerythrin of red algae. The carotenoids of green algae are sometimes less efficient while those of red algae are largely or entirely inactive. Chlorophyll a of red algae is about one-half as efficient (φo2 = 0.04) as either the phycobilins, or the chlorophyll of most other plants. These results as well as those of high intensity and of fluorescence experiments are consistent with a mechanism in which about half the chlorophyll is inactive while the other half is fully active and is an intermediate in phycoerythrin- and phycocyanin-sensitized photosynthesis.
The amount of DNA in the chloroplasts of some plant species has been shown recently to decline dramatically during leaf development. A high-throughput method of DNA detection in chloroplasts is now needed in order to facilitate the further investigation of this process using large numbers of tissue samples.
The DNA-binding fluorophores 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI), SYBR Green I (SG), SYTO 42, and SYTO 45 were assessed for their utility in flow cytometric analysis of DNA in Arabidopsis chloroplasts. Fluorescence microscopy and real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) were used to validate flow cytometry data. We found neither DAPI nor SYTO 45 suitable for flow cytometric analysis of chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) content, but did find changes in cpDNA content during development by flow cytometry using SG and SYTO 42. The latter dye provided more sensitive detection, and the results were similar to those from the fluorescence microscopic analysis. Differences in SYTO 42 fluorescence were found to correlate with differences in cpDNA content as determined by qPCR using three primer sets widely spaced across the chloroplast genome, suggesting that the whole genome undergoes copy number reduction during development, rather than selective reduction/degradation of subgenomic regions.
Flow cytometric analysis of chloroplasts stained with SYTO 42 is a high-throughput method suitable for determining changes in cpDNA content during development and for sorting chloroplasts on the basis of DNA content.
Brown algae are plant multi-cellular organisms occupying most of the world coasts and are essential actors in the constitution of ecological niches at the shoreline. Ectocarpus siliculosus is an emerging model for brown algal research. Its genome has been sequenced, and several tools are being developed to perform analyses at different levels of cell organization, including transcriptomic expression analyses. Several topics, including physiological responses to osmotic stress and to exposure to contaminants and solvents are being studied in order to better understand the adaptive capacity of brown algae to pollution and environmental changes. A series of genes that can be used to normalise expression analyses is required for these studies.
We monitored the expression of 13 genes under 21 different culture conditions. These included genes encoding proteins and factors involved in protein translation (ribosomal protein 26S, EF1alpha, IF2A, IF4E) and protein degradation (ubiquitin, ubiquitin conjugating enzyme) or folding (cyclophilin), and proteins involved in both the structure of the cytoskeleton (tubulin alpha, actin, actin-related proteins) and its trafficking function (dynein), as well as a protein implicated in carbon metabolism (glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase). The stability of their expression level was assessed using the Ct range, and by applying both the geNorm and the Normfinder principles of calculation.
Comparisons of the data obtained with the three methods of calculation indicated that EF1alpha (EF1a) was the best reference gene for normalisation. The normalisation factor should be calculated with at least two genes, alpha tubulin, ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme or actin-related proteins being good partners of EF1a. Our results exclude actin as a good normalisation gene, and, in this, are in agreement with previous studies in other organisms.
We screened for biological activity which induces neurite outgrowth in vitro from 300 species of marine algae from along the Japan coast for possible use as a treatment for the lack of neurotrophic factor which is considered to be a cause of Alzheimer's disease. In this study, we evaluated the neurite outgrowth promoting activity in a rat adrenal medulla pheochromocytoma cell line, PC12D, using a low level of NGF (nerve growth factor). Although most of the samples had no activity, MeOH extract from a brown alga, Sargassum macrocarpum and PBS extract from a red alga, Jania adharens, exhibited neurite outgrowth promoting activity and induced neuron specific dendrites and axons from the surfaces of PC12D cells. The active substance present in S. macrocarpumseemed to be lipid and heat stable with molecular weight of around 500 to 1000. These results suggest that marine algae may constitute a good source for development of promising novel agents with neurotrophic activity in brain nerve systems for future use in treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's disease; nerve growth factor; neurite outgrowth; promoting activity; PC12D cells; marine algae; Sargassum macrocarpum
We investigated the accuracy and precision of flow cytometric (FCM) estimates of bacterial abundances using 4′, 6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) and Hoechst 33342 (HO342, a bisbenzamide derivative) on paraformaldehyde-fixed seawater samples collected from two stations near Oahu, Hawaii. The accuracy of FCM estimates was assessed against direct counts by using epifluorescence microscopy. DAPI and HO342 differ in two aspects of their chemistry that make HO342 better suited for staining marine heterotrophic bacteria for FCM analysis. These differences are most important in studies of open-ocean ecosystems that require dual-beam FCM analysis to clearly separate heterotrophic bacterial populations from populations of photosynthetic Prochlorococcus spp. Bacterial populations were easier to distinguish from background fluorescence when stained with HO342 than when stained with DAPI, because HO342 has a higher relative fluorescence quantum yield. A substantially higher coefficient of variation of blue fluorescence, which was probably due to fluorescent complexes formed by DAPI with double-stranded RNA, was observed for DAPI-stained populations. FCM estimates averaged 2.0 and 12% higher than corresponding epifluorescence microscopy direct counts for HO342 and DAPI-stained samples, respectively. A paired-sample t test between FCM estimates and direct counts found no significant difference for HO342-stained samples but a significant difference for DAPI-stained samples. Coefficients of variation of replicate FCM abundance estimates ranged from 0.63 to 2.9% (average, 1.5%) for natural bacterial concentrations of 6 × 105 to 15 × 105 cells ml-1.
Transposable elements (TEs) are mobile DNA sequences present in the genomes of most organisms. They have been extensively studied in animals, fungi, and plants, and have been shown to have important functions in genome dynamics and species evolution. Recent genomic data can now enlarge the identification and study of TEs to other branches of the eukaryotic tree of life. Diatoms, which belong to the heterokont group, are unicellular eukaryotic algae responsible for around 40% of marine primary productivity. The genomes of a centric diatom, Thalassiosira pseudonana, and a pennate diatom, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, that likely diverged around 90 Mya, have recently become available.
In the present work, we establish that LTR retrotransposons (LTR-RTs) are the most abundant TEs inhabiting these genomes, with a much higher presence in the P. tricornutum genome. We show that the LTR-RTs found in diatoms form two new phylogenetic lineages that appear to be diatom specific and are also found in environmental samples taken from different oceans. Comparative expression analysis in P. tricornutum cells cultured under 16 different conditions demonstrate high levels of transcriptional activity of LTR retrotransposons in response to nitrate limitation and upon exposure to diatom-derived reactive aldehydes, which are known to induce stress responses and cell death. Regulatory aspects of P. tricornutum retrotransposon transcription also include the occurrence of nitrate limitation sensitive cis-regulatory components within LTR elements and cytosine methylation dynamics. Differential insertion patterns in different P. tricornutum accessions isolated from around the world infer the role of LTR-RTs in generating intraspecific genetic variability.
Based on these findings we propose that LTR-RTs may have been important for promoting genome rearrangements in diatoms.
The taxonomic class of oomycetes contains numerous pathogens of plants and animals but is related to nonpathogenic diatoms and brown algae. Oomycetes have flexible genomes comprising large gene families that play roles in pathogenicity. The evolutionary processes that shaped the gene content have not yet been studied by applying systematic tree reconciliation of the phylome of these species. We analyzed evolutionary dynamics of ten Stramenopiles. Gene gains, duplications, and losses were inferred by tree reconciliation of 18,459 gene trees constituting the phylome with a highly supported species phylogeny. We reconstructed a strikingly large last common ancestor of the Stramenopiles that contained ∼10,000 genes. Throughout evolution, the genomes of pathogenic oomycetes have constantly gained and lost genes, though gene gains through duplications outnumber the losses. The branch leading to the plant pathogenic Phytophthora genus was identified as a major transition point characterized by increased frequency of duplication events that has likely driven the speciation within this genus. Large gene families encoding different classes of enzymes associated with pathogenicity such as glycoside hydrolases are formed by complex and distinct patterns of duplications and losses leading to their expansion in extant oomycetes. This study unveils the large-scale evolutionary dynamics that shaped the genomes of pathogenic oomycetes. By the application of phylogenetic based analyses methods, it provides additional insights that shed light on the complex history of oomycete genome evolution and the emergence of large gene families characteristic for this important class of pathogens.
oomycetes; genome reconstruction; evolution; gene families; evolutionary dynamics; tree reconciliation
Phytomyxea (plasmodiophorids) is an enigmatic group of obligate biotrophic parasites. Most of the known 41 species are associated with terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. However, the potential of phytomyxean species to influence marine ecosystems either directly by causing diseases of their hosts or indirectly as vectors of viruses is enormous, although still unexplored. In all, 20% of the currently described phytomyxean species are parasites of some of the key primary producers in the ocean, such as seagrasses, brown algae and diatoms; however, information on their distribution, abundance and biodiversity is either incomplete or lacking. Phytomyxean species influence fitness by altering the metabolism and/or the reproductive success of their hosts. The resulting changes can (1) have an impact on the biodiversity within host populations, and (2) influence microbial food webs because of altered availability of nutrients (e.g. changed metabolic status of host, transfer of organic matter). Also, phytomyxean species may affect their host populations indirectly by transmitting viruses. The majority of the currently known single-stranded RNA marine viruses structurally resemble the viruses transmitted by phytomyxean species to crops in agricultural environments. Here, we explore possible ecological roles of these parasites in marine habitats; however, only the inclusion of Phytomyxea in marine biodiversity studies will allow estimation of the true impact of these species on global primary production in the oceans.
biodiversity; biotrophic interaction; environmental monitoring; plant pathology; plasmodiophorid; Plasmodiophora; protist; zoospores
Diatoms are unicellular, photosynthetic, eukaryotic algae with a ubiquitous distribution in water environments and they play an important role in the carbon cycle. Molecular or morphological changes in these species under ecological stress conditions are expected to serve as early indicators of toxicity and can point to a global impact on the entire ecosystem. Thalassiosira pseudonana, a marine diatom and the first with a fully sequenced genome has been selected as an aquatic model organism for ecotoxicological studies using molecular tools. A customized DNA microarray containing probes for the available gene sequences has been developed and tested to analyze the effects of a common pollutant, benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), at a sub-lethal concentration. This approach in diatoms has helped to elucidate pathway/metabolic processes involved in the mode of action of this pollutant, including lipid metabolism, silicon metabolism and stress response. A dose-response of BaP on diatoms has been made and the effect of this compound on the expression of selected genes was assessed by quantitative real time-PCR. Up-regulation of the long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase and the anti-apoptotic transmembrane Bax inhibitor, as well as down-regulation of silicon transporter 1 and a heat shock factor was confirmed at lower concentrations of BaP, but not the heat-shock protein 20. The study has allowed the identification of molecular biomarkers to BaP to be later on integrated into environmental monitoring for water quality assessment.