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      Transcriptomic and metabolomic analysis of copper stress acclimation in Ectocarpus siliculosus highlights signaling and tolerance mechanisms in brown algae


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          Brown algae are sessile macro-organisms of great ecological relevance in coastal ecosystems. They evolved independently from land plants and other multicellular lineages, and therefore hold several original ontogenic and metabolic features. Most brown algae grow along the coastal zone where they face frequent environmental changes, including exposure to toxic levels of heavy metals such as copper (Cu). We carried out large-scale transcriptomic and metabolomic analyses to decipher the short-term acclimation of the brown algal model E. siliculosus to Cu stress, and compared these data to results known for other abiotic stressors. This comparison demonstrates that Cu induces oxidative stress in E. siliculosus as illustrated by the transcriptomic overlap between Cu and H2O2 treatments. The common response to Cu and H2O2 consisted in the activation of the oxylipin and the repression of inositol signaling pathways, together with the regulation of genes coding for several transcription-associated proteins. Concomitantly, Cu stress specifically activated a set of genes coding for orthologs of ABC transporters, a P1B-type ATPase, ROS detoxification systems such as a vanadium-dependent bromoperoxidase, and induced an increase of free fatty acid contents. Finally we observed, as a common abiotic stress mechanism, the activation of autophagic processes on one hand and the repression of genes involved in nitrogen assimilation on the other hand. Comparisons with data from green plants indicate that some processes involved in Cu and oxidative stress response are conserved across these two distant lineages. At the same time the high number of yet uncharacterized brown alga-specific genes induced in response to copper stress underlines the potential to discover new components and molecular interactions unique to these organisms. Of particular interest for future research is the potential cross-talk between reactive oxygen species (ROS)-, myo-inositol-, and oxylipin signaling.

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              The increase in the number of large data sets and the complexity of current probabilistic sequence evolution models necessitates fast and reliable phylogeny reconstruction methods. We describe a new approach, based on the maximum- likelihood principle, which clearly satisfies these requirements. The core of this method is a simple hill-climbing algorithm that adjusts tree topology and branch lengths simultaneously. This algorithm starts from an initial tree built by a fast distance-based method and modifies this tree to improve its likelihood at each iteration. Due to this simultaneous adjustment of the topology and branch lengths, only a few iterations are sufficient to reach an optimum. We used extensive and realistic computer simulations to show that the topological accuracy of this new method is at least as high as that of the existing maximum-likelihood programs and much higher than the performance of distance-based and parsimony approaches. The reduction of computing time is dramatic in comparison with other maximum-likelihood packages, while the likelihood maximization ability tends to be higher. For example, only 12 min were required on a standard personal computer to analyze a data set consisting of 500 rbcL sequences with 1,428 base pairs from plant plastids, thus reaching a speed of the same order as some popular distance-based and parsimony algorithms. This new method is implemented in the PHYML program, which is freely available on our web page:

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                BMC Plant Biology, BioMed Central, 2013, 14, pp.116
                q-bio.GN q-bio.MN

                Molecular biology, Genetics


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