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      Nuclear Gene Transformation in the Dinoflagellate Oxyrrhis marina

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      Microorganisms

      MDPI

      dinoflagellates, gene transformation, molecular biology, marine biology

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          Abstract

          The lack of a robust gene transformation tool that allows proper expression of foreign genes and functional testing for the vast number of nuclear genes in dinoflagellates has greatly hampered our understanding of the fundamental biology in this ecologically important and evolutionarily unique lineage of microeukaryotes. Here, we report the development of a dinoflagellate expression vector containing various DNA elements from phylogenetically separate dinoflagellate lineages, an electroporation protocol, and successful expression of introduced genes in an early branching dinoflagellate, Oxyrrhis marina. This protocol, involving the use of Lonza’s Nucleofector and a codon-optimized antibiotic resistance gene, has been successfully used to produce consistent results in several independent experiments for O. marina. It is anticipated that this protocol will be adaptable for other dinoflagellates and will allow characterization of many novel dinoflagellate genes.

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          Most cited references 69

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          Bacterial rhodopsin: evidence for a new type of phototrophy in the sea.

          Extremely halophilic archaea contain retinal-binding integral membrane proteins called bacteriorhodopsins that function as light-driven proton pumps. So far, bacteriorhodopsins capable of generating a chemiosmotic membrane potential in response to light have been demonstrated only in halophilic archaea. We describe here a type of rhodopsin derived from bacteria that was discovered through genomic analyses of naturally occuring marine bacterioplankton. The bacterial rhodopsin was encoded in the genome of an uncultivated gamma-proteobacterium and shared highest amino acid sequence similarity with archaeal rhodopsins. The protein was functionally expressed in Escherichia coli and bound retinal to form an active, light-driven proton pump. The new rhodopsin exhibited a photochemical reaction cycle with intermediates and kinetics characteristic of archaeal proton-pumping rhodopsins. Our results demonstrate that archaeal-like rhodopsins are broadly distributed among different taxa, including members of the domain Bacteria. Our data also indicate that a previously unsuspected mode of bacterially mediated light-driven energy generation may commonly occur in oceanic surface waters worldwide.
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            Symbiodinium Transcriptomes: Genome Insights into the Dinoflagellate Symbionts of Reef-Building Corals

            Dinoflagellates are unicellular algae that are ubiquitously abundant in aquatic environments. Species of the genus Symbiodinium form symbiotic relationships with reef-building corals and other marine invertebrates. Despite their ecologic importance, little is known about the genetics of dinoflagellates in general and Symbiodinium in particular. Here, we used 454 sequencing to generate transcriptome data from two Symbiodinium species from different clades (clade A and clade B). With more than 56,000 assembled sequences per species, these data represent the largest transcriptomic resource for dinoflagellates to date. Our results corroborate previous observations that dinoflagellates possess the complete nucleosome machinery. We found a complete set of core histones as well as several H3 variants and H2A.Z in one species. Furthermore, transcriptome analysis points toward a low number of transcription factors in Symbiodinium spp. that also differ in the distribution of DNA-binding domains relative to other eukaryotes. In particular the cold shock domain was predominant among transcription factors. Additionally, we found a high number of antioxidative genes in comparison to non-symbiotic but evolutionary related organisms. These findings might be of relevance in the context of the role that Symbiodinium spp. play as coral symbionts. Our data represent the most comprehensive dinoflagellate EST data set to date. This study provides a comprehensive resource to further analyze the genetic makeup, metabolic capacities, and gene repertoire of Symbiodinium and dinoflagellates. Overall, our findings indicate that Symbiodinium possesses some unique characteristics, in particular the transcriptional regulation in Symbiodinium may differ from the currently known mechanisms of eukaryotic gene regulation.
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              Dinoflagellates: a remarkable evolutionary experiment.

              In this paper, we focus on dinoflagellate ecology, toxin production, fossil record, and a molecular phylogenetic analysis of hosts and plastids. Of ecological interest are the swimming and feeding behavior, bioluminescence, and symbioses of dinoflagellates with corals. The many varieties of dinoflagellate toxins, their biological effects, and current knowledge of their origin are discussed. Knowledge of dinoflagellate evolution is aided by a rich fossil record that can be used to document their emergence and diversification. However, recent biogeochemical studies indicate that dinoflagellates may be much older than previously believed. A remarkable feature of dinoflagellates is their unique genome structure and gene regulation. The nuclear genomes of these algae are of enormous size, lack nucleosomes, and have permanently condensed chromosomes. This chapter reviews the current knowledge of gene regulation and transcription in dinoflagellates with regard to the unique aspects of the nuclear genome. Previous work shows the plastid genome of typical dinoflagellates to have been reduced to single-gene minicircles that encode only a small number of proteins. Recent studies have demonstrated that the majority of the plastid genome has been transferred to the nucleus, which makes the dinoflagellates the only eukaryotes to encode the majority of typical plastid genes in the nucleus. The evolution of the dinoflagellate plastid and the implications of these results for understanding organellar genome evolution are discussed.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Microorganisms
                Microorganisms
                microorganisms
                Microorganisms
                MDPI
                2076-2607
                16 January 2020
                January 2020
                : 8
                : 1
                Affiliations
                Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut, 1080 Shennecossett Rd, Groton, CT 06340, USA; brittany.sprecher@ 123456uconn.edu
                Author notes
                Article
                microorganisms-08-00126
                10.3390/microorganisms8010126
                7022241
                31963386
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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