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1.  The Protist Ribosomal Reference database (PR2): a catalog of unicellular eukaryote Small Sub-Unit rRNA sequences with curated taxonomy 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;41(D1):D597-D604.
The interrogation of genetic markers in environmental meta-barcoding studies is currently seriously hindered by the lack of taxonomically curated reference data sets for the targeted genes. The Protist Ribosomal Reference database (PR2, http://ssu-rrna.org/) provides a unique access to eukaryotic small sub-unit (SSU) ribosomal RNA and DNA sequences, with curated taxonomy. The database mainly consists of nuclear-encoded protistan sequences. However, metazoans, land plants, macrosporic fungi and eukaryotic organelles (mitochondrion, plastid and others) are also included because they are useful for the analysis of high-troughput sequencing data sets. Introns and putative chimeric sequences have been also carefully checked. Taxonomic assignation of sequences consists of eight unique taxonomic fields. In total, 136 866 sequences are nuclear encoded, 45 708 (36 501 mitochondrial and 9657 chloroplastic) are from organelles, the remaining being putative chimeric sequences. The website allows the users to download sequences from the entire and partial databases (including representative sequences after clustering at a given level of similarity). Different web tools also allow searches by sequence similarity. The presence of both rRNA and rDNA sequences, taking into account introns (crucial for eukaryotic sequences), a normalized eight terms ranked-taxonomy and updates of new GenBank releases were made possible by a long-term collaboration between experts in taxonomy and computer scientists.
doi:10.1093/nar/gks1160
PMCID: PMC3531120  PMID: 23193267
2.  Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus have Evolved Different Adaptive Mechanisms to Cope with Light and UV Stress 
Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus, which numerically dominate vast oceanic areas, are the two most abundant oxygenic phototrophs on Earth. Although they require solar energy for photosynthesis, excess light and associated high UV radiations can induce high levels of oxidative stress that may have deleterious effects on their growth and productivity. Here, we compared the photophysiologies of the model strains Prochlorococcus marinus PCC 9511 and Synechococcus sp. WH7803 grown under a bell-shaped light/dark cycle of high visible light supplemented or not with UV. Prochlorococcus exhibited a higher sensitivity to photoinactivation than Synechococcus under both conditions, as shown by a larger drop of photosystem II (PSII) quantum yield at noon and different diel patterns of the D1 protein pool. In the presence of UV, the PSII repair rate was significantly depressed at noon in Prochlorococcus compared to Synechococcus. Additionally, Prochlorococcus was more sensitive than Synechococcus to oxidative stress, as shown by the different degrees of PSII photoinactivation after addition of hydrogen peroxide. A transcriptional analysis also revealed dramatic discrepancies between the two organisms in the diel expression patterns of several genes involved notably in the biosynthesis and/or repair of photosystems, light-harvesting complexes, CO2 fixation as well as protection mechanisms against light, UV, and oxidative stress, which likely translate profound differences in their light-controlled regulation. Altogether our results suggest that while Synechococcus has developed efficient ways to cope with light and UV stress, Prochlorococcus cells seemingly survive stressful hours of the day by launching a minimal set of protection mechanisms and by temporarily bringing down several key metabolic processes. This study provides unprecedented insights into understanding the distinct depth distributions and dynamics of these two picocyanobacteria in the field.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2012.00285
PMCID: PMC3441193  PMID: 23024637
marine cyanobacteria; Synechococcus; Prochlorococcus; light/dark cycle; light stress; UV radiations; oxidative stress; photophysiology
3.  Ultraviolet stress delays chromosome replication in light/dark synchronized cells of the marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus marinus PCC9511 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:204.
Background
The marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus is very abundant in warm, nutrient-poor oceanic areas. The upper mixed layer of oceans is populated by high light-adapted Prochlorococcus ecotypes, which despite their tiny genome (~1.7 Mb) seem to have developed efficient strategies to cope with stressful levels of photosynthetically active and ultraviolet (UV) radiation. At a molecular level, little is known yet about how such minimalist microorganisms manage to sustain high growth rates and avoid potentially detrimental, UV-induced mutations to their DNA. To address this question, we studied the cell cycle dynamics of P. marinus PCC9511 cells grown under high fluxes of visible light in the presence or absence of UV radiation. Near natural light-dark cycles of both light sources were obtained using a custom-designed illumination system (cyclostat). Expression patterns of key DNA synthesis and repair, cell division, and clock genes were analyzed in order to decipher molecular mechanisms of adaptation to UV radiation.
Results
The cell cycle of P. marinus PCC9511 was strongly synchronized by the day-night cycle. The most conspicuous response of cells to UV radiation was a delay in chromosome replication, with a peak of DNA synthesis shifted about 2 h into the dark period. This delay was seemingly linked to a strong downregulation of genes governing DNA replication (dnaA) and cell division (ftsZ, sepF), whereas most genes involved in DNA repair (such as recA, phrA, uvrA, ruvC, umuC) were already activated under high visible light and their expression levels were only slightly affected by additional UV exposure.
Conclusions
Prochlorococcus cells modified the timing of the S phase in response to UV exposure, therefore reducing the risk that mutations would occur during this particularly sensitive stage of the cell cycle. We identified several possible explanations for the observed timeshift. Among these, the sharp decrease in transcript levels of the dnaA gene, encoding the DNA replication initiator protein, is sufficient by itself to explain this response, since DNA synthesis starts only when the cellular concentration of DnaA reaches a critical threshold. However, the observed response likely results from a more complex combination of UV-altered biological processes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-204
PMCID: PMC2921402  PMID: 20670397
4.  Development of a Universal Microarray Based on the Ligation Detection Reaction and 16S rRNA Gene Polymorphism To Target Diversity of Cyanobacteria 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2004;70(12):7161-7172.
The cyanobacteria are photosynthetic prokaryotes of significant ecological and biotechnological interest, since they strongly contribute to primary production and are a rich source of bioactive compounds. In eutrophic fresh and brackish waters, their mass occurrences (water blooms) are often toxic and constitute a high potential risk for human health. Therefore, rapid and reliable identification of cyanobacterial species in complex environmental samples is important. Here we describe the development and validation of a microarray for the identification of cyanobacteria in aquatic environments. Our approach is based on the use of a ligation detection reaction coupled to a universal array. Probes were designed for detecting 19 cyanobacterial groups including Anabaena/Aphanizomenon, Calothrix, Cylindrospermopsis, Cylindrospermum, Gloeothece, halotolerants, Leptolyngbya, Palau Lyngbya, Microcystis, Nodularia, Nostoc, Planktothrix, Antarctic Phormidium, Prochlorococcus, Spirulina, Synechococcus, Synechocystis, Trichodesmium, and Woronichinia. These groups were identified based on an alignment of over 300 cyanobacterial 16S rRNA sequences. For validation of the microarrays, 95 samples (24 axenic strains from culture collections, 27 isolated strains, and 44 cloned fragments recovered from environmental samples) were tested. The results demonstrated a high discriminative power and sensitivity to 1 fmol of the PCR-amplified 16S rRNA gene. Accurate identification of target strains was also achieved with unbalanced mixes of PCR amplicons from different cyanobacteria and an environmental sample. Our universal array method shows great potential for rapid and reliable identification of cyanobacteria. It can be easily adapted to future development and could thus be applied both in research and environmental monitoring.
doi:10.1128/AEM.70.12.7161-7172.2004
PMCID: PMC535161  PMID: 15574913

Results 1-4 (4)