Navigation Links
Puzzling plankton yield secrets to role in evolution/global photosynthesis

The analysis of DNA sequences from tiny green algae have provided new insights into the mystery of how new species of plankton evolve—and further highlights their critical role in managing the global cycling of carbon. These findings, by a group led by the DOE Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI); the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego; and the Pierre & Marie Curie University, were published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Ocean-dwelling phytoplankton from the genus Ostreococcus emerge at the primitive root of the green plant lineage, dating back nearly 1.5 billion years. Today, these microscopic, free-living creatures, among the smallest eukaryotes ever characterized, barely a micron in diameter, contribute to a significant share of the world’s total photosynthetic activity. These "picophytoplankton" also exhibit great diversity that contrasts sharply with the dearth of ecological niches available to them in aquatic ecosystems. This observation, known as the "paradox of the plankton," has long puzzled biologists.

Plumbing the depths of molecular-level information of related species, genomics offers a novel glimpse into this paradox. The researchers compared the genomes of two Ostreococcus species, O. lucimarinus and O. tauri, and saw dramatic changes in genome structure and metabolic capabilities.

"We found several striking features of genome organization," said DOE JGI’s Igor Grigoriev, the PNAS paper’s senior author. "Overlapping genes conserved across the species may enable them to cross-regulate their expression, while species-specific chromosomes with horizontally transferred genes can account for changes in the cell surface to adapt to different ecological niches." Grigoriev and his colleagues noted the abundance of selenium-rich proteins that surfaced in their analysis, which he said allows the organisms to horde nutrients and reduced their appetit e for iron—an adaptive process in Ostreococcus.

"This work builds on the community’s emerging understanding about how carbon fixation is carried out by picoplankton," said Brian Palenik, lead author and researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.

"From an applied perspective, we are learning some of the tricks nature has employed to ‘engineer?an extremely small eukaryote to thrive in nature—which may well find applications in bioengineering," said Palenik. "It was particularly interesting to see the predicted use of selenium-containing enzymes as one of the tricks to maintain such tiny cells. There are many mechanisms that can account for species formation in photosynthetic phytoplankton, and this is just one of the major pieces to this long-standing puzzle for biologists."

"Assimilation of atmospheric CO2 by marine phytoplankton is a global-scale process that is responsible for about half of the biosphere net primary production," said collaborator and co-author Hervé Moreau of the Pierre & Marie Curie University Oceanic Observatory in Banyuls-sur-mer, France. "This active absorption of hundreds of millions of tons of carbon per day is essential for maintaining the control of the planet’s climate by counteracting greenhouse effects due to human activities. Clearly, this storage capacity is affected by changes in the photosynthetic efficiency of the algae, which in turn is linked to the environmental conditions experienced by these organisms in their environment."

The ecology of picoeukaryotes, said Moreau, has thus become an intense field of investigation over the last decade as these microalgae, although representing a minor component of the plankton, nevertheless play major roles in oceanic biomass production.

"With even more picoplankton genomes in the sequencing queue at DOE JGI, we’re positioned to secure a better grasp on the mechanisms of species adaptatio n and the great diversity of biological pathways operating in the oceans," said Grigoriev. "This will also enable us to predict the roles of these organisms in contributing to primary marine productivity."
'"/>

Source:DOE/Joint Genome Institute


Related biology news :

1. Researchers use 3-D imaging system to unveil swimming behavior of microscopic plankton
2. Scientists discover interplay between genes and viruses in tiny ocean plankton
3. MIT: Oceans are a major gene swap-meet for plankton
4. Genome-wide mouse study yields link to human leukemia
5. Microbial fuel cell: High yield hydrogen source and wastewater cleaner
6. Insight into DNAs weakest links may yield clues to cancer biology
7. Marine sponge yields nanoscale secrets
8. New understanding of cell movement may yield ways to brake cancers spread
9. Small worm yields big clue on muscle receptor action
10. Modified collagen could yield important medical applications
11. Elderly mice yield clues to the process of growing old

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/9/2016)... innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint ... sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control the opening ... ... ... Photo ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... June 3, 2016 ... Nepal hat ein ... hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und ... der Produktion und Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche ... im Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur wurde als ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016 Perimeter Surveillance & Detection ... Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  The ... offers comprehensive analysis of the global Border Security ... revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. Now: ... leader in software and hardware technologies for advanced video ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware ... . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together ... built and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case report published ... how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from ... the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Calif. , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, ... biological discoveries to the medical community, has closed its ... Matthew Nunez . "We have received ... with the capital we need to meet our current ... essentially provide us the runway to complete validation on ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 On ... session at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average ... 500 closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated coverage ... INFI ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez ... Inc. (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more about these ...
Breaking Biology Technology: