Comparative genomic analyses of transport proteins encoded within the red algae Chondrus crispus, Galdieria sulphuraria, and Cyanidioschyzon merolae11.
ABSTRACT: Galdieria sulphuraria and Cyanidioschyzon merolae are thermo-acidophilic unicellular red algal cousins capable of living in volcanic environments, although the former can additionally thrive in the presence of toxic heavy metals. Bioinformatic analyses of transport systems were carried out on their genomes, as well as that of the mesophilic multicellular red alga Chondrus crispus (Irish moss). We identified transport proteins related to the metabolic capabilities, physiological properties, and environmental adaptations of these organisms. Of note is the vast array of transporters encoded in G. sulphuraria capable of importing a variety of carbon sources, particularly sugars and amino acids, while C. merolae and C. crispus have relatively few such proteins. Chondrus crispus may prefer short chain acids to sugars and amino acids. In addition, the number of encoded proteins pertaining to heavy metal ion transport is highest in G. sulphuraria and lowest in C. crispus. All three organisms preferentially utilize secondary carriers over primary active transporters, suggesting that their primary source of energy derives from electron flow rather than substrate-level phosphorylation. Surprisingly, the percentage of inorganic ion transporters encoded in C. merolae more closely resembles that of C. crispus than G. sulphuraria, but only C. crispus appears to signal via voltage-gated cation channels and possess a Na+ /K+ -ATPase and a Na+ exporting pyrophosphatase. The results presented in this report further our understanding of the metabolic potential and toxic compound resistances of these three organisms.
Project description:The unicellular red alga Galdieria sulphuraria is a facultative heterotrophic member of the Cyanidiaceae, a group of evolutionary highly conserved extremophilic red algae. Uptake of various sugars and polyols is accomplished by a large number of distinct plasma membrane transporters. We have cloned three transporters [GsSPT1 (G. sulphuraria sugar and polyol transporter 1), GsSPT2 and GsSPT4], followed their transcriptional regulation and assayed their transport capacities in the heterologous yeast system. SPT1 is a conserved type of sugar/H(+) symporter with 12 predicted transmembrane-spanning domains, whereas SPT2 and SPT4 represent monosaccharide transporters, characterized by only nine hydrophobic domains. Surprisingly, all three proteins are functional plasma membrane transporters, as demonstrated by genetic complementation of a sugar uptake-deficient yeast mutant. Substrate specificities were broad and largely redundant, except for glucose, which was only taken up by SPT1. Comparison of SPT1 and truncated SPT1(Delta1-3) indicated that the N-terminus of the protein is not required for sugar transport or substrate recognition. However, its deletion affected substrate affinity as well as maximal transport velocity and released the pH dependency of sugar uptake. In line with these results, uptake by SPT2 and SPT4 was active but not pH-dependent, making a H(+) symport mechanism unlikely for the truncated proteins. We postulate SPT2 and SPT4 as functional plasma membrane transporters in G. sulphuraria. Most likely, they originated from genes encoding active monosaccharide/H(+) symporters with 12 transmembrane-spanning domains.
Project description:The unicellular thermoacidophilic red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae is an emerging model organism of photosynthetic eukaryotes. Its relatively simple genome (16.5 Mbp) with very low-genetic redundancy and its cellular structure possessing one chloroplast, mitochondrion, peroxisome, and other organelles have facilitated studies. In addition, this alga is genetically tractable, and the nuclear and chloroplast genomes can be modified by integration of transgenes via homologous recombination. Recent studies have attempted to clarify the structure and function of the photosystems of this alga. However, it is difficult to obtain photosynthesis-defective mutants for molecular genetic studies because this organism is an obligate autotroph. To overcome this issue in C. merolae, we expressed a plasma membrane sugar transporter, GsSPT1, from Galdieria sulphuraria, which is an evolutionary relative of C. merolae and capable of heterotrophic growth. The heterologously expressed GsSPT1 localized at the plasma membrane. GsSPT1 enabled C. merolae to grow mixotrophically and heterotrophically, in which cells grew in the dark with glucose or in the light with a photosynthetic inhibitor 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea (DCMU) and glucose. When the GsSPT1 transgene multiplied on the C. merolae chromosome via the URA Cm-Gs selection marker, which can multiply itself and its flanking transgene, GsSPT1 protein level increased and the heterotrophic and mixotrophic growth of the transformant accelerated. We also found that GsSPT1 overexpressing C. merolae efficiently formed colonies on solidified medium under light with glucose and DCMU. Thus, GsSPT1 overexpresser will facilitate single colony isolation and analyses of photosynthesis-deficient mutants produced either by random or site-directed mutagenesis. In addition, our results yielded evidence supporting that the presence or absence of plasma membrane sugar transporters is a major cause of difference in trophic properties between C. merolae and G. sulphuraria.
Project description:We present the nucleotide sequence of the gene encoding subunit 3 of cytochrome c oxidase in Chondrus crispus, the first report on a mitochondrial gene from a red alga. Amino acid alignment with homologous proteins shows that tryptophan is specified by UGA, as in the mitochondrial code of most organisms other than green plants. However, phylogenetic analyses of cox3 amino acid and nucleotide sequences indicate that C. crispus COX3 is related to the green-plant mitochondrial lineage. No RNA editing was detected on the corresponding transcript. As the only known photosynthetic eukaryotes that both share an immediate mitochondrial ancestor with green plants and exhibit features characteristic of non-plant mitochondria, ie, a small-sized mitochondrial genome and a modified genetic code, rhodophytes may be thought of as an intermediate evolutionary link at the root of the green-plant mitochondrial lineage.
Project description:The amino acid sequence of the constitutive flavodoxin from the red alga Chondrus crispus was determined from the analyses of peptide fragments derived by enzymic digestions of the carboxymethylated protein. This is the first sequence reported for a flavodoxin from a eukaryote. The protein is composed of 173 amino acid residues and is a member of the longer-chain group of flavodoxins. The extent of sequence homology to the three other flavodoxins in the group for which sequences are available is in the range 36-39%, with the most strongly conserved regions being those implicated in binding of the FMN, the redox-active prosthetic group. Nevertheless, Chondrus crispus flavodoxin stands apart in a number of respects, in particular the possession of an unusually high content of proline, with these residues distributed more or less regularly along the peptide chain.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Cyanidiales are unicellular extremophilic red algae that inhabit acidic and high temperature sites around hot springs and have also adapted to life in endolithic and interlithic habitats. Comparative genomic analysis of Cyanidioschyzon merolae and Galdieria sulphuraria predicts that the latter may be more broadly distributed in extreme environments because its genome contains membrane transporters involved in the uptake of reduced carbon compounds that are absent from C. merolae. Analysis of an endolithic site in the Phlegrean Fields near Naples, Italy is consistent with this prediction showing this population to be comprised solely of the newly described lineage Galdieria-B and C. merolae to be limited to humid habitats. Here, we conducted an environmental PCR survey of another extreme environment in Tuscany, Italy and contrasted Cyanidiales population structure at endolithic and interlithic habitats in Naples and Tuscany. RESULTS:We find a second Galdieria lineage (Galdieria-A) in endolithic and interlithic habitats in Tuscany but surprisingly Cyanidium was also present at these sites. The photoautotrophic Cyanidium apparently survives below the rock surface where sufficient light is available for photosynthesis. C. merolae is absent from all endolithic and interlithic sites in Tuscany. Population genetic analyses of a partial calmodulin gene fragment suggest a recent establishment or recurrent gene flow between populations in Tuscany, whereas the highly structured Galdieria-B population in Naples likely originated from 2-3 founder events. We find evidence of several recombination events across the calmodulin gene, potentially indicating the presence of sexual reproduction in the Tuscany populations. CONCLUSION:Our study provides important data regarding population structure in extreme endolithic environments and insights into how Cyanidiales may be established in and adapt to these hostile environments.
Project description:Chondrus crispus is a marine red alga with sulfated galactans, called carrageenans, in its extracellular matrix. Chondrus has a complex haplodiplontic life cycle, alternating between male and female gametophytes (n) and tetrasporophytes (2n). The Chondrus life cycle stages are isomorphic; however, a major phenotypic difference is that carrageenan composition varies significantly between the tetrasporophytes (mainly lambda-carrageenan) and the gametophytes (mainly kappa/iota-carrageenans). The disparity in carrageenan structures, which confer different chemical properties, strongly suggests differential regulation of carrageenan-active genes between the phases of the Chondrus life cycles. We used a combination of taxonomy, biochemistry and molecular biology to characterize the tetrasporophytes and male and female gametophytes from Chondrus individuals isolated from the rocky seashore off the northern coast of France. Transcriptomic analyses reveal differential gene expression of genes encoding several galactose-sulfurylases, carbohydrate-sulfotransferases, glycosyltransferases, and one family 16 glycoside hydrolase. Differential expression of carrageenan-related genes was found primarily between gametophytes and tetrasporophytes, but also between the male and female gametophytes. The differential expression of these multigenic genes provides a rare glimpse into cell wall biosynthesis in algae. Furthermore, it strongly supports that carrageenan metabolism holds an important role in the physiological differentiation between the isomorphic life cycle stages of Chondrus.
Project description:The link between life history traits and mating systems in diploid organisms has been extensively addressed in the literature, whereas the degree of selfing and/or inbreeding in natural populations of haploid-diploid organisms, in which haploid gametophytes alternate with diploid sporophytes, has been rarely measured. Dioecy has often been used as a proxy for the mating system in these organisms. Yet, dioecy does not prevent the fusion of gametes from male and female gametophytes originating from the same sporophyte. This is likely a common occurrence when spores from the same parent are dispersed in clumps and recruit together. This pattern of clumped spore dispersal has been hypothesized to explain significant heterozygote deficiency in the dioecious haploid-diploid seaweed Chondrus crispus. Fronds and cystocarps (structures in which zygotes are mitotically amplified) were sampled in two 25?m(2) plots located within a high and a low intertidal zone and genotyped at 5 polymorphic microsatellite loci in order to explore the mating system directly using paternity analyses. Multiple males sired cystocarps on each female, but only one of the 423 paternal genotypes corresponded to a field-sampled gametophyte. Nevertheless, larger kinship coefficients were detected between males siring cystocarps on the same female in comparison with males in the entire population, confirming restricted spermatial and clumped spore dispersal. Such dispersal mechanisms may be a mode of reproductive assurance due to nonmotile gametes associated with putatively reduced effects of inbreeding depression because of the free-living haploid stage in C. crispus.
Project description:Inferring genome-scale metabolic networks in emerging model organisms is challenged by incomplete biochemical knowledge and partial conservation of biochemical pathways during evolution. Therefore, specific bioinformatic tools are necessary to infer biochemical reactions and metabolic structures that can be checked experimentally. Using an integrative approach combining genomic and metabolomic data in the red algal model Chondrus crispus, we show that, even metabolic pathways considered as conserved, like sterols or mycosporine-like amino acid synthesis pathways, undergo substantial turnover. This phenomenon, here formally defined as "metabolic pathway drift," is consistent with findings from other areas of evolutionary biology, indicating that a given phenotype can be conserved even if the underlying molecular mechanisms are changing. We present a proof of concept with a methodological approach to formalize the logical reasoning necessary to infer reactions and molecular structures, abstracting molecular transformations based on previous biochemical knowledge.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The uptake of nutrients, expulsion of metabolic wastes and maintenance of ion homeostasis by the intraerythrocytic malaria parasite is mediated by membrane transport proteins. Proteins of this type are also implicated in the phenomenon of antimalarial drug resistance. However, the initial annotation of the genome of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum identified only a limited number of transporters, and no channels. In this study we have used a combination of bioinformatic approaches to identify and attribute putative functions to transporters and channels encoded by the malaria parasite, as well as comparing expression patterns for a subset of these. RESULTS: A computer program that searches a genome database on the basis of the hydropathy plots of the corresponding proteins was used to identify more than 100 transport proteins encoded by P. falciparum. These include all the transporters previously annotated as such, as well as a similar number of candidate transport proteins that had escaped detection. Detailed sequence analysis enabled the assignment of putative substrate specificities and/or transport mechanisms to all those putative transport proteins previously without. The newly-identified transport proteins include candidate transporters for a range of organic and inorganic nutrients (including sugars, amino acids, nucleosides and vitamins), and several putative ion channels. The stage-dependent expression of RNAs for 34 candidate transport proteins of particular interest are compared. CONCLUSION: The malaria parasite possesses substantially more membrane transport proteins than was originally thought, and the analyses presented here provide a range of novel insights into the physiology of this important human pathogen.
Project description:This study was planned to investigate the effects of seaweed supplementation, genetic strain, heat stress and their interactions on laying hen performances, blood chemistry and hematology. In a short-term trial, laying hens of the two genetic lines Lohman LSL-Lite (White) and Lohman Brown-Lite (Brown) were supplemented with Chondrus crispus (CC) at 3% for 21 days, while a control group was not. In a long-term trial, the same two strains were assigned to control (0%), 3% red seaweed Chondrus crispus (CC) or 0.5% brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum (AN)-supplemented diets for 41 weeks, concluding with a four-week control or heat-stress period. The White hens displayed higher egg production and a lower feed/egg ratio. The short-term inclusion of CC significantly reduced the feed intake, weight gain and feed/egg ratio. The long-term seaweed intake affected the plasma albumin and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) (p < 0.05), and there were significant strain-heat stress interactions; heat stress in the Brown birds was associated with reduced protein, globulin and glucose and increased cholesterol and GGT levels and higher heterophil-to-lymphocyte (H/L) ratios (p < 0.05) in response to heat stress (p < 0.05). In conclusion, a long-term seaweed supplementation affected the plasma protein and enzyme profiles, yet had little effect on hen leukocyte counts and the overall performance.