Article

Paralytic shellfish toxins inhibit copper uptake in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

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Abstract

Paralytic shellfish toxins are secondary metabolites produced by several species of dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria. Known targets of these toxins, which typically occur at detrimental concentrations during harmful algal blooms, include voltage-gated ion channels in humans and mammals. However, the effects of the toxins on the co-occurring phytoplankton community remain unknown. The present study examined the molecular mechanisms of the model photosynthetic alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii in response to saxitoxin exposure as a means of gaining insights into the phytoplankton community response to a bloom. Previous work with yeast indicated that saxitoxin inhibited copper uptake, and so experiments were designed to examine whether saxitoxin exhibited a similar mode of action in algae. Expression profiling following exposure to saxitoxin or a copper chelator produced similar profiles in copper homeostasis genes, notably the induction of the cytochrome c6 (CYC6) and copper transporter (COPT1, CTR1) genes. Cytochrome c6 is used as an alternative to plastocyanin under conditions of copper deficiency, and immunofluorescence data showed this protein to be present in a significantly greater proportion of saxitoxin-exposed cells compared to controls. Live-cell imaging with a copper sensor probe for intracellular labile Cu(I) confirmed that saxitoxin blocked copper uptake. Extrapolations of these data to phytoplankton metabolic processes along with the copper transporter as a molecular target of saxitoxin based on existing structural models are discussed. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. © 2013 SETAC.

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... Toxins can function as organic ligands, complexing with metals and/or interacting with membrane proteins involved in trace metal assimilation (Humble et al. 1997;Wells et al. 2002;Moeller et al. 2007;Cusick et al. 2012;Facey et al. 2019;Chen et al. 2020). It was observed that the addition of saxitoxin (STX) in cultures of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Cusick et al. 2012) and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Cusick et al. 2013), under 20 and 8 μmol L −1 of Cu 2+ conditions, respectively, prevented the cellular uptake of Cu 2+ ions, through the binding of STX molecules to Cu 2+ membrane transporters, alleviating cellular toxicity (Cusick et al. 2013). A similar result was found in the diatom P. multiseries, which improved cell growth in response to the addition of toxin DA under a Cu 2+ -stressed condition . ...
... Toxins can function as organic ligands, complexing with metals and/or interacting with membrane proteins involved in trace metal assimilation (Humble et al. 1997;Wells et al. 2002;Moeller et al. 2007;Cusick et al. 2012;Facey et al. 2019;Chen et al. 2020). It was observed that the addition of saxitoxin (STX) in cultures of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Cusick et al. 2012) and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Cusick et al. 2013), under 20 and 8 μmol L −1 of Cu 2+ conditions, respectively, prevented the cellular uptake of Cu 2+ ions, through the binding of STX molecules to Cu 2+ membrane transporters, alleviating cellular toxicity (Cusick et al. 2013). A similar result was found in the diatom P. multiseries, which improved cell growth in response to the addition of toxin DA under a Cu 2+ -stressed condition . ...
... This study indicated that by adding STX to yeast (S. cerevisiae) and microalgae (C. reinhardtii) cultures, the Cu 2+ uptake was inhibited in both species (Cusick et al. 2012(Cusick et al. , 2013. ...
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The CTR1 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae encodes a protein required for high affinity copper uptake. The protein is expressed on the plasma membrane, is heavily glycosylated with O-linkages, and exists as an oligomer in vivo. The transcript abundance is strongly regulated by copper availability, being induced by copper deprivation and repressed by copper excess. Regulation occurs at very low, nontoxic levels of available copper and is independent of ACE1, the trans-inducer of yeast metallothionein. Expression of Ctr1p is limiting for copper uptake, since overexpression from a 2 mu high copy number plasmid increases copper uptake. Mutations in CTR1 result in altered cellular responses to extracellular copper, demonstrating a physiologic role for CTR1 in the delivery of copper to the cytosol. A copper-dependent reporter gene construct, CUP1-lacZ, is not expressed in CTR1 mutants to the same level as in wild-type strains, and Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase activity is deficient in these mutants. The growth arrest that occurs in CTR1 mutants grown aerobically in copper-deficient media is attributable to the defect in Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase activity.
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Plasma and tissue of certain vertebrates contain a protein called saxiphilin that specifically binds the neurotoxin saxitoxin with nanomolar affinity. We describe the isolation of a cDNA clone of saxiphilin from liver of the North American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana). The cDNA sequence encodes a protein that is evolutionarily related to members of the transferrin family of Fe(3+)-binding proteins. Pairwise sequence alignment of saxiphilin with various transferrins reveals amino acid identity as high as 51% and predicts 14 disulfide bonds that are highly conserved. The larger size of saxiphilin (91 kDa) versus serum transferrin (approximately 78 kDa) is primarily due to a unique insertion of 144 residues. This insertion contains a 49-residue domain classified as a type 1 repetitive element of thyroglobulin, which is shared by a variety of membrane, secreted, and extracellular matrix proteins. Saxiphilin also differs from transferrins in 9 of 10 highly conserved amino acids in the two homologous Fe3+/HCO3-binding sites of transferrin. Identification of saxiphilin implies that transferrin-like proteins comprise a diverse superfamily with functions other than iron binding.
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A saturable and temperature-dependent copper uptake pathway has been identified in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The uptake system has a high affinity for copper ions (Km approximately 0.2 microM) and is more active in cells that are adapted to copper deficiency than to cells grown in a medium containing physiological (submicromolar to micromolar) copper ion concentrations. The maximum velocity of copper uptake by copper-deficient cells (169 pmol h-1 10(6) cells-1 or 62 ng min-1 mg-1 chlorophyll) is up to 20-fold greater than that of fully copper-supplemented cells, and the Km (approximately 2 x 10(2) nM) is unaffected. Thus, the same uptake system appears to operate in both copper-replete and copper-deficient cells, but its expression or activity must be induced under copper-deficient conditions. A cupric reductase activity is also increased in copper-deficient compared with copper-sufficient cells. The physiological characteristics of the regulation of this cupric reductase are compatible with its involvement in the uptake pathway. Despite the operation of the uptake pathway under both copper-replete and copper-deficient conditions, C. reinhardtii cells maintained in fully copper-supplemented cells do not accumulate copper in excess of their metabolic need. These results provide evidence for a homeostatic mechanism for copper metabolism in C. reinhardtii.
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We present a novel method that predicts transmembrane domains in proteins using solely information contained in the sequence itself. The PRED-TMR algorithm described, refines a standard hydrophobicity analysis with a detection of potential termini (`edges', starts and ends) of transmembrane regions. This allows one both to discard highly hydrophobic regions not delimited by clear start and end configurations and to confirm putative transmembrane segments not distinguishable by their hydrophobic composition. The accuracy obtained on a test set of 101 non-homologous transmembrane proteins with reliable topologies compares well with that of other popular existing methods. Only a slight decrease in prediction accuracy was observed when the algorithm was applied to all transmembrane proteins of the SwissProt database (release 35). A WWW server running the PRED-TMR algorithm is available at http://o2.db.uoa.gr/PRED-TMR/
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The unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a valuable model for studying metal metabolism in a photosynthetic background. A search of the Chlamydomonas expressed sequence tag database led to the identification of several components that form a copper-dependent iron assimilation pathway related to the high-affinity iron uptake pathway defined originally for Saccharomyces cerevisiae. They include a multicopper ferroxidase (encoded by Fox1), an iron permease (encoded by Ftr1), a copper chaperone (encoded by Atx1), and a copper-transporting ATPase. A cDNA, Fer1, encoding ferritin for iron storage also was identified. Expression analysis demonstrated that Fox1 and Ftr1 were coordinately induced by iron deficiency, as were Atx1 and Fer1, although to lesser extents. In addition, Fox1 abundance was regulated at the posttranscriptional level by copper availability. Each component exhibited sequence relationship with its yeast, mammalian, or plant counterparts to various degrees; Atx1 of C. reinhardtii is also functionally related with respect to copper chaperone and antioxidant activities. Fox1 is most highly related to the mammalian homologues hephaestin and ceruloplasmin; its occurrence and pattern of expression in Chlamydomonas indicate, for the first time, a role for copper in iron assimilation in a photosynthetic species. Nevertheless, growth of C. reinhardtii under copper- and iron-limiting conditions showed that, unlike the situation in yeast and mammals, where copper deficiency results in a secondary iron deficiency, copper-deficient Chlamydomonas cells do not exhibit symptoms of iron deficiency. We propose the existence of a copper-independent iron assimilation pathway in this organism.
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Potassium (K+) channels mediate numerous electrical events in excitable cells, including cellular membrane potential repolarization. The hERG K+ channel plays an important role in myocardial repolarization, and inhibition of these K+ channels is associated with long QT syndromes that can cause fatal cardiac arrhythmias. In this study, we identify saxitoxin (STX) as a hERG channel modifier and investigate the mechanism using heterologous expression of the recombinant channel in HEK293 cells. In the presence of STX, channels opened slower during strong depolarizations, and they closed much faster upon repolarization, suggesting that toxin-bound channels can still open but are modified, and that STX does not simply block the ion conduction pore. STX decreased hERG K+ currents by stabilizing closed channel states visualized as shifts in the voltage dependence of channel opening to more depolarized membrane potentials. The concentration dependence for steady-state modification as well as the kinetics of onset and recovery indicate that multiple STX molecules bind to the channel. Rapid application of STX revealed an apparent "agonist-like" effect in which K+ currents were transiently increased. The mechanism of this effect was found to be an effect on the channel voltage-inactivation relationship. Because the kinetics of inactivation are rapid relative to activation for this channel, the increase in K+ current appeared quickly and could be subverted by a decrease in K+ currents due to the shift in the voltage-activation relationship at some membrane potentials. The results are consistent with a simple model in which STX binds to the hERG K+ channel at multiple sites and alters the energetics of channel gating by shifting both the voltage-inactivation and voltage-activation processes. The results suggest a novel extracellular mechanism for pharmacological manipulation of this channel through allosteric coupling to channel gating.
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Members of the copper uptake transporter (CTR) family from yeast, plants, and mammals including human are required for cellular uptake of the essential metal copper. Based on biochemical data, CTRs have three transmembrane domains and have been shown to oligomerize in the membrane. Among individual members of the family, there is little amino acid sequence identity, raising questions as to how these proteins adopt a common fold, oligomerize, and participate in copper transport. Using site-directed mutagenesis, tryptophan scanning, genetic complementation, subcellular localization, chemical cross-linking, and the yeast unfolded protein response, we demonstrated that at least half of the third transmembrane domain (TM3) plays a vital role in CTR structure and function. The results of our analysis showed that TM3 contains two functionally distinct faces. One face bears a highly conserved Gly-X-X-X-Gly (GG4) motif, which we showed to be essential for CTR oligomerization. Moreover, we showed that steric constraints reach past the GG4-motif itself including amino acid residues that are not conserved throughout the CTR family. A second face of TM3 contains three amino acid positions that, when mutated to tryptophan, cause predominantly abnormal localization but are still partially functional in growth complementation experiments. These mutations cluster on the face opposite to the GG4-bearing face of TM3 where they may mediate interactions with the remaining two transmembrane domains. Taken together, our data support TM3 as being buried within trimeric CTR where it plays an essential role in CTR assembly.
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We present the synthesis, properties, and biological applications of Coppersensor-1 (CS1), a new water-soluble, turn-on fluorescent sensor for intracellular imaging of copper in living biological samples. CS1 utilizes a BODIPY reporter and thioether-rich receptor to provide high selectivity and sensitivity for Cu+ over other biologically relevant metal ions, including Cu2+, in aqueous solution. This BODIPY-based probe is the first Cu+-responsive sensor with visible excitation and emission profiles and gives a 10-fold turn-on response for detecting this ion. Confocal microscopy experiments further establish that CS1 is membrane-permeable and can successfully monitor intracellular Cu+ levels within living cells.
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Human CTR1 is a high-affinity copper transporter that also mediates the uptake of the anticancer drug cisplatin by largely unknown transport mechanisms. Here we report the 6-Å projection structure obtained for human CTR1 by using electron crystallography of 2D protein crystals in a native phospholipid bilayer. The projection of CTR1 reveals a symmetrical trimer that is <40 Å wide. Notably, the center threefold axis of each trimer forms a region of very low electron density likely to be involved in copper translocation. The formation of a putative pore for metal ions at the interface of three identical subunits deviates from the structural design of typical primary and secondary active transporters and reveals that copper uptake transporters have a novel architecture that is structurally more closely related to channel proteins. • cryo-electron crystallography • membrane protein • cisplatin • metal transport
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The supply of some essential metals to pelagic ecosystems is less than the demand, so many phytoplankton have slow rates of photosynthetic production and restricted growth. The types and amounts of metals required by phytoplankton depends on their evolutionary history and on their adaptations to metal availability, which varies widely among ocean habitats. Diatoms, for example, need considerably less iron (Fe) to grow than chlorophyll-b-containing taxa, and the oceanic species demand roughly one-tenth the amount of coastal strains. Like Fe, copper (Cu) is scarce in the open sea, but notably higher concentrations of it are required for the growth of oceanic than of coastal isolates. Here we report that the greater Cu requirement in an oceanic diatom, Thalassiosira oceanica, is entirely due to a single Cu-containing protein, plastocyanin, which--until now--was only known to exist in organisms with chlorophyll b and cyanobacteria. Algae containing chlorophyll c, including the closely related coastal species T. weissflogii, are thought to lack plastocyanin and contain a functionally equivalent Fe-containing homologue, cytochrome c6 (ref. 9). Copper deficiency in T. oceanica inhibits electron transport regardless of Fe status, implying a constitutive role for plastocyanin in the light reactions of photosynthesis in this species. The results suggest that selection pressure imposed by Fe limitation has resulted in the use of a Cu protein for photosynthesis in an oceanic diatom. This biochemical switch reduces the need for Fe and increases the requirement for Cu, which is relatively more abundant in the open sea.
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A saturable and temperature-dependent copper uptake pathway has been identified in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The uptake system has a high affinity for copper ions (Km approximately 0.2 [mu]M) and is more active in cells that are adapted to copper deficiency than to cells grown in a medium containing physiological (submicromolar to micromolar) copper ion concentrations. The maximum velocity of copper uptake by copper-deficient cells (169 pmol h-1 106 cells-1 or 62 ng min-1 mg-1 chlorophyll) is up to 20-fold greater than that of fully copper-supplemented cells, and the Km (approximately 2 x 102 nM) is unaffected. Thus, the same uptake system appears to operate in both copper-replete and copper-deficient cells, but its expression or activity must be induced under copper-deficient conditions. A cupric reductase activity is also increased in copper-deficient compared with copper-sufficient cells. The physiological characteristics of the regulation of this cupric reductase are compatible with its involvement in the uptake path-way. Despite the operation of the uptake pathway under both copper-replete and copper-deficient conditions, C. reinhardtii cells maintained in fully copper-supplemented cells do not accumulate copper in excess of their metabolic need. These results provide evidence for a homeostatic mechanism for copper metabolism in C. reinhardtii.
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Our objective was to track microbial processes associated with serial degradation of organic matter derived from algal blooms. To do this, we analyzed population fluctuations and growth responses of major phylogenetic groups of free-living marine bacteria. We used bromodeoxyuridine immunocytochemistry–fluorescence in situ hybridization methodology to examine marine bacterial community development during and after a diatom bloom in a mesocosm. We revealed that the Roseobacter/Rhodobacter, SAR11, Alteromonas, and Bacteroidetes groups were clearly major phylotypes responsible for most free-living bacterial biomass and production throughout the experiment. The clearest bacterial response was a proliferation of the Alteromonas group (cells with large volumes) during development of the bloom (up to 30 % of actively growing cells). Populations of these bacteria declined sharply thereafter, likely due to grazing. Alteromonas group responses suggest that these bacteria strongly influenced the flux of organic matter at an early bloom stage. The growth potential of Bacteroidetes was relatively large as the bloom peaked; this early development probably contributed to the initial stage of bloom decomposition. In contrast, the contribution of Roseobacter/Rhodobacter to total bacterial production increased at a late stage of decomposing of the bloom. The contributions of Betaproteobacteria, SAR11, and SAR86 groups to total bacterial abundance and production were relatively minor throughout the experiment. These results imply that the ability to utilize organic matter derived from diatoms varies among bacterial phylotypes, and, frequently, less abundant but ecological specialist taxa such as Alteromonas may play major roles in the flux of organic matter during diatom blooms.
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Diatom blooms generated by the alleviation of iron limitation in high nitrate-low chlorophyll (HNLC) regions of the oceans often are composed of pennate diatoms of the genus Pseudo-nitzschia, many of which periodically produce the potent neurotoxin domoic acid. We show that toxigenic diatoms have an inducible high-affinity iron uptake capability that enables them to grow efficiently on iron complexed by strong organic ligands in seawater. This low-iron adaptive strategy requires copper and domoic acid, a copper chelator whose production increases sharply when both iron and copper are limiting. Addition of either domoic acid or copper to seawater improves the growth of Pseudo-nitzschia spp. on strongly complexed iron during deck incubation experiments with natural phytoplankton. Our findings indicate that domoic acid is a functional component of the unusual high-affinity iron acquisition system of these organisms. This system may help explain why Pseudo-nitzschia spp. are persistent seed populations in oceanic HNLC regions, as well as in some neritic regions. Our findings also indicate that in the absence of an adequate copper supply, iron-limited natural populations of Pseudo-nitzschia will become increasingly toxic.
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Iron is the quantitatively most important trace metal involved in thylakoid reactions of all oxygenic organisms since linear (= non-cyclic) electron flow from H2O to NADP+ involves PS II (2–3 Fe), cytochrome b6-f (5 Fe), PS I (12 Fe), and ferredoxin (2 Fe); (replaceable by metal-free flavodoxin in certain cyanobacteria and algae under iron deficiency). Cytochrome c6 (1 Fe) is the only redox catalyst linking the cytochrome b6-f complex to PS I in most algae; in many cyanobacteria and Chlorophyta cytochrome c6 and the copper-containing plastocyanin are alternatives, with the availability of iron and copper regulating their relative expression, while higher plants only have plastocyanin. Iron, copper and zinc occur in enzymes that remove active oxygen species and that are in part bound to the thylakoid membrane. These enzymes are ascorbate peroxidase (Fe) and iron-(cyanobacteria, and most al gae) and copper-zinc- (some algae; higher plants) superoxide dismutase. Iron-containing NAD(P)H-PQ oxidoreductase in thylakoids of cyanobacteria and many eukaryotes may be involved in cyclic electron transport around PS I and in chlororespiration. Manganese is second to iron in its quantitative role in the thylakoids, with four Mn (and 1 Ca) per PS II involved in O2 evolution. The roles of the transition metals in redox catalysts can in broad terms be related to their redox chemistry and to their availability to organisms at the time when the pathways evolved. The quantitative roles of these trace metals varies genotypically (e.g. the greater need for iron in thylakoid reactions of cyanobacteria and rhodophytes than in other O2-evolvers as a result of their lower PS II:PS I ratio) and phenotypically (e.g. as a result of variations in PS II:PS I ratio with the spectral quality of incident radiation).
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Saxitoxins have been found in Australian populations of the cyanobacterium Anabaena circinalis. The C-toxins (Cl and C2) and gonyautoxins (GTX2 and GTX3) are dominant components, while saxitoxin (STX), GTX5 and decarbamoyl gonyautoxins (dcSTX, dcGTX2 and dcGTX3) are minor constituents. Variation in the concentration and composition of saxitoxins has been observed in natural populations and cultured strains of A. circinalis and may reflect environmental conditions. Laboratory experiments were conducted with a single strain of A. circinalis to examine the effect of different nitrogen sources (dissolved atmospheric nitrogen, nitrate or ammonium) and varying concentrations of nitrate (0.0028, 0.28 and 28 mg N l(-1)) on growth and saxitoxin levels. Growth was determined by cell enumeration and saxitoxin concentrations were analysed by high-performance liquid chromatography. All experiments consistently showed a linear relationship between cell density and saxitoxin concentration (intracellular + extracellular). Growth of A, circinalis was depressed by addition of ammonium (0.04 mg N l(-1)) and by high levels of nitrate (28 mg N l(-1)), and these treatments were associated with an increased toxin release. The concentration of extracellular saxitoxins increased with the age of cultures. The composition of intracellular and extracellular toxin profiles was usually similar; however, the relative abundance of the different toxins was not always the same. Extracellular toxin profiles generally comprised a higher proportion of STX and GTX2 and less C-toxins. A strong correlation between toxin quota (saxitoxin concentration per cell) and logarithmic growth rate was found in three of four experiments. Saxitoxin concentrations in A. circinalis appear to be indirectly affected by the source and concentration of nitrogen through growth.
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The two most commonly used methods to analyze data from real-time, quantitative PCR experiments are absolute quantification and relative quantification. Absolute quantification determines the input copy number, usually by relating the PCR signal to a standard curve. Relative quantification relates the PCR signal of the target transcript in a treatment group to that of another sample such as an untreated control. The 2(-DeltaDeltaCr) method is a convenient way to analyze the relative changes in gene expression from real-time quantitative PCR experiments. The purpose of this report is to present the derivation, assumptions, and applications of the 2(-DeltaDeltaCr) method. In addition, we present the derivation and applications of two variations of the 2(-DeltaDeltaCr) method that may be useful in the analysis of real-time, quantitative PCR data. (C) 2001 Elsevier science.
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An interesting oceanographic problem concerns the excess major plant nutrients (PO4, NO3, SiO3) occurring in offshore surface waters of the Antarctic1–3 and north-east Pacific subarctic Oceans4. In a previous study5, we presented indirect evidence suggesting that inadequate Fe input was responsible for this limitation of growth; recently we had the opportunity to seek direct evidence for this hypothesis in the north-east Pacific subarctic. We report here that the addition of nmol amounts of dissolved iron resulted in the nearly complete utilization of excess NO3, whereas in the controls—without added Fe—only 25% of the available NO3 was used. We also observed that the amounts of chlorophyll in the phytoplankton increased in proportion to the Fe added. We conclude that Fe deficiency is limiting phytoplankton growth in these major-nutrient-rich waters.
Article
To characterize the mobilization and uptake of iron by cyanobacteria, 14 species were screened for ability to scavenge iron in a competitive system. The cyanobacteria exhibited a range of growth responses to iron limitation which could be separated into three groups, and a representative species from each group was chosen for further study. Effects of iron-limitation on growth and siderophore production of Anacystis nidulans R2, Anabaena variabilis ATCC 29413, and Plectonema boryanum UTEX 581 were determined. Both A. nidulans R2 and A. variabilis showed a reduced rate of growth with decreased available iron concentration (PFe 17?19). Growth rates increased with further reduction in the level of available iron (pFe 20 to pFe 21). The increase in growth rate occurred at the same available iron concentration as the initiation of extracellular siderophore production. In contrast, the growth of P. boryanum decreased with decreasing available iron levels. No siderophore production was detected from P. boryanum cultures. The growth kinetics of siderophore-producing species differ from traditional nutrient-limited growth kinetics and clearly reflect the presence of a high affinity, siderophore-mediated iron transport system in A. nidulans R2 and A. variabilis. Iron-limited growth kinetics more similar to traditional nutrient-limited growth kinetics were found in P. boryanum. The available nitrogen source influenced amount of siderophore produced and concentration of available iron which induced siderophore production. Siderophores were produced at high iron concentrations (pFe 18) when A. variablilis cultures were grown in the absence of combined nitrogen source. When nitrate was supplied to the culture, iron concentrations had to be reduced to pFe 20 before siderophores were produced. Cells grown on nitrogen also produced greater than two times the amount of siderophore compared with nitrate grown cells. This may be indicative of an increased demand for iron by nitrogen fixing A. variabilis Cultures.
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The dinoflagellate Karenia brevis is responsible for nearly annual red tides in the Gulf of Mexico that cause extensive marine mortalities and human illness due to the production of brevetoxins. Although the mechanisms regulating its bloom dynamics and toxicity have received considerable attention, investigation into these processes at the cellular and molecular level has only begun in earnest during the past decade. This review provides an overview of the recent advances in our understanding of the cellular and molecular biology on K. brevis. Several molecular resources developed for K. brevis, including cDNA and genomic DNA libraries, DNA microarrays, metagenomic libraries, and probes for population genetics, have revolutionized our ability to investigate fundamental questions about K. brevis biology. Two cellular processes have received particular attention, the vegetative cell cycle and vertical migration behavior, which are of key importance due to their roles in the development of both surface populations that constitute blooms and subsurface cell aggregations that may serve to initiate them. High throughput sequencing of cDNA libraries has provided the first glimpse of the gene repertoire in K. brevis, with approximately 12,000 unique genes identified to date. Phylogenomic analysis of these genes has revealed a high rate of horizontal gene transfer in K. brevis, which has resulted in a chimeric chloroplast through the selective retention of genes of red, green, and haptophyte origin, whose adaptive significance is not yet clear. Gene expression studies using DNA microarrays have demonstrated a prevalence of post-transcriptional gene regulation in K. brevis and led to the discovery of an unusual spliced leader trans-splicing mechanism. Among the trans-spliced gene transcripts are type I polyketide synthases (PKSs), implicated in brevetoxin biosynthesis, which are unique among type I PKSs in that each transcript encodes an individual catalytic domain, suggesting a novel gene structure in this dinoflagellate. Clone libraries of 16S ribosomal DNA sequences developed from bloom waters have unveiled the temporal and spatial complexity of the microbial soup that coexists with K. brevis and its active involvement in both bloom growth and termination processes. Finally, the development and application of population genetic markers has revealed a surprisingly high genetic diversity in K. brevis blooms, long assumed to consist of essentially clonal populations. With these foundations in place, our understanding of K. brevis bloom dynamics is likely to grow exponentially in the next few years.
Article
We investigated the presence of plasmalemma-bound copper-containing oxidases associated with the inducible iron (Fe) transport system in two diatoms of the genus Thalassiosira. Under Fe-limiting conditions, Thalassiosira oceanica, an oceanic isolate, was able to enzymatically oxidize inorganic Fe(II) extracellularly. This oxidase activity was dependent on copper (Cu) availability and diminished by exposure to a multi-Cu oxidase (MCO) inhibitor. The rates of Fe uptake from ferrioxamine B by Fe-limited T. oceanica were also dependent on Cu availability in the growth media. The effects of Cu limitation on Fe(II) oxidation and Fe uptake from ferrioxamine B were partially reversed after a short exposure to a Cu addition, indicating that the putative oxidases contain Cu. Limited physiological experiments were also performed with the coastal diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana and provided some evidence for putative Cu-containing oxidases in the high-affinity Fe transport system of this isolate. To support these preliminary physiological data, we searched the newly available T. pseudonana genome for a multi-Cu-containing oxidase gene and, using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), quantified its expression under various Fe and Cu levels. We identified a putative MCO gene with predicted transmembrane domains and found that transcription levels of this gene were significantly elevated in Fe-limited cells relative to Fe-replete cells. These data collectively suggest that putative MCOs are part of the inducible Fe transport system of Fe-limited diatoms, which act to oxidize Fe(II) following reductive dissociation of Fe(III) from strong organic complexes. © 2006, by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Inc.
Article
Saxitoxin is a secondary metabolite produced by several species of dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria which targets voltage-gated sodium and potassium channels in higher vertebrates. However, its molecular target in planktonic aquatic community members that co-occur with the toxin producers remains unknown. Previous microarray analysis with yeast identified copper and iron-homeostasis genes as being differentially regulated in response to saxitoxin. This study sought to identify the molecular target in microbial cells by comparing the transcriptional profiles of key copper and iron homeostasis genes (CTR1, FRE1, FET3, CUP1, CRS5) in cells exposed to saxitoxin, excess copper, excess iron, an extracellular Cu(I) chelator, or an intracellular Cu(I) chelator. Protein expression and localization of Ctr1p (copper transporter), Fet3p (multicopper oxidase involved in high-affinity iron uptake), and Aft1p (iron regulator) were also compared among treatments. Combined transcript and protein profiles suggested saxitoxin inhibited copper uptake. This hypothesis was confirmed by intracellular Cu(I) imaging with a selective fluorescent probe for labile copper. On the basis of the combined molecular and physiological results, a model is presented in which the copper transporter Ctr1p serves as a molecular target of saxitoxin and these observations are couched in the context of the eco-evolutionary role this toxin may serve for species that produce it.
Article
Dynamic fluxes of s-block metals like potassium, sodium, and calcium are of broad importance in cell signaling. In contrast, the concept of mobile transition metals triggered by cell activation remains insufficiently explored, in large part because metals like copper and iron are typically studied as static cellular nutrients and there are a lack of direct, selective methods for monitoring their distributions in living cells. To help meet this need, we now report Coppersensor-3 (CS3), a bright small-molecule fluorescent probe that offers the unique capability to image labile copper pools in living cells at endogenous, basal levels. We use this chemical tool in conjunction with synchotron-based microprobe X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XRFM) to discover that neuronal cells move significant pools of copper from their cell bodies to peripheral processes upon their activation. Moreover, further CS3 and XRFM imaging experiments show that these dynamic copper redistributions are dependent on calcium release, establishing a link between mobile copper and major cell signaling pathways. By providing a small-molecule fluorophore that is selective and sensitive enough to image labile copper pools in living cells under basal conditions, CS3 opens opportunities for discovering and elucidating functions of copper in living systems.
Article
Marine photosynthetic plankton are responsible for approximately 50 petagrams (10(15)) of carbon per year of net primary production, an amount equivalent to that on land. This primary production supports essentially all life in the oceans and profoundly affects global biogeochemical cycles and climate. This review discusses the general distribution of primary production in the sea, the processes that regulate this distribution, and how marine primary production is sensitive to climate variability and change. Statistical modes of ocean variability and their characteristic interannual to multi-decadal timescales over the last century are described. Recent in situ and satellite time-series of primary production can be clearly linked to interannual ocean variability. Global marine primary production appears to have increased over the past several decades in association with multi-decadal variations. A paleoclimate record extends discussion to the centennial scale, providing contrasting insights into how marine primary production might vary in the future.
Article
Saxitoxin is a potent neurotoxin produced by several species of dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria. The molecular target of saxitoxin in higher eukaryotes is the voltage-gated sodium channel; however, its target in lower eukaryotic organisms remains unknown. The goal of this study was to obtain the transcriptional fingerprint of the model lower eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae upon exposure to saxitoxin to identify potential genes suitable for biomarker development. Microarray analyses identified multiple genes associated with copper and iron homeostasis and sulfur metabolism as significantly differentially expressed upon exposure to saxitoxin; these results were verified with quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR). Additionally, the qRT-PCR assays were used to generate expression profiles in a subset of the differentially regulated genes across multiple exposure times and concentrations, the results of which demonstrated that overall, genes tended to respond in a consistent manner to the toxin. In general, the genes encoding the metallothioneins CUP1 and CRS5 were induced following exposure to saxitoxin, while those encoding the ferric/ cupric reductase FRE1 and the copper uptake transporter CTR1 were repressed. The gene encoding the multicopper ferroxidase FET3, part of the high-affinity iron uptake system, was also induced in all treatments, along with the STR3 gene, which codes for the cystathionine beta-lyase found in the methionine biosynthetic pathway.
Article
The interrelation of the copper protein plastocyanin, and a soluble c-type cytochrome, c-552, in photosynthetic electron transport has been studied in the genus Chlamydomonas. With C. reinhardtii the plastocyanin: cytochrome c-552 ratio could be changed from 300:1 less than 1:16 simply by omitting copper from the medium, without any other detectable change. Plastocyanin was indetectable in a second species, C. mundana, for which the cytochrome c-552 level was always very high. The properties of Levine's C. reinhardtii mutant lacking plastocyanin, ac-208, were studies and it was found that the photosynthetic capabilities of a suppressed phenotype and suppressed genotype could be explained by reference to the cytochrome c-552 levels. Both proteins were successfully used in reconstitution experiments with chloroplast fragments. Both showed very fast kinetics for reduction by purified Chlamydomonas cytochrome f, but the rate of electron transfer from one to the other was much slower. It is concluded that they constitute an interchangeable pair, and the rationale for this and possible analogies are both discussed.
Article
We report the identification and characterization of CTR1, a gene in the yeast S. cerevisiae that encodes a multispanning plasma membrane protein specifically required for high affinity copper transport into the cell. The predicted protein contains a methionine- and serine-rich domain that includes 11 examples of the sequence Met-X2-Met, a motif noted in proteins involved in bacterial copper metabolism. CTR1 mutants and deletion strains have profound deficiency in ferrous iron uptake, thus revealing a requirement for copper in mediating ferrous transport into the cell. Genetic evidence suggests that the target for this requirement is the FET3 gene (detailed in a companion study), predicted to encode a copper-containing protein that acts as a cytosolic ferro-oxidase. These findings provide an unexpected mechanistic link between the uptake of copper and iron.
Article
Some species of puffer fish have been reported to possess both of tetrodotoxin and saxitoxin, which share one binding site on sodium channels. We purified a novel soluble glycoprotein that binds to these toxins from plasma of the puffer fish, Fugu pardalis, and named puffer fish saxitoxin and tetrodotoxin binding protein (PSTBP). PSTBP possessed a binding capacity of 10.6 +/- 0.97 nmol x mg(-1) protein and a K(d) of 14.6 +/- 0.33 nm for [(3)H]saxitoxin in equilibrium binding assays. [(3)H]Saxitoxin (10 nm) binding to PSTBPs was half-inhibited by the presence of tetrodotoxin and saxitoxin at 12 microm and 8.5 nm, respectively. From the results of gel filtration chromatography (200 kDa) and SDS/PAGE (104 kDa), PSTBP was suggested to consist of noncovalently linked dimers of a single subunit. PSTBP was completely deglycosylated by glycopeptidase F, producing a single band at 42 kDa. Two highly homologous cDNAs to each other coding PSTBP (PSTBP1 and PSTBP2, the predicted amino-acid identity 93%), were obtained from a cDNA library of F. pardalis liver. These proteins consisted to two tandemly repeated homologous domains. The predicted amino-acid sequences of PSTBP1 and 2 were not homologous to that of saxiphilin, a reported saxitoxin binding protein, or sodium channels, but their N-terminus sequences were homologous to that of the reported tetrodotoxin binding protein from plasma of Fugu niphobles, which has not been fully characterized. The partially homologous cDNA sequences to PSTBP1 and 2 were also found in expressed sequence tag clones of nontoxic flounders liver. Presumably, PSTBP is involved in accumulation and/or excretion of toxins in puffer fish.
Article
The two most commonly used methods to analyze data from real-time, quantitative PCR experiments are absolute quantification and relative quantification. Absolute quantification determines the input copy number, usually by relating the PCR signal to a standard curve. Relative quantification relates the PCR signal of the target transcript in a treatment group to that of another sample such as an untreated control. The 2(-Delta Delta C(T)) method is a convenient way to analyze the relative changes in gene expression from real-time quantitative PCR experiments. The purpose of this report is to present the derivation, assumptions, and applications of the 2(-Delta Delta C(T)) method. In addition, we present the derivation and applications of two variations of the 2(-Delta Delta C(T)) method that may be useful in the analysis of real-time, quantitative PCR data.
Article
Saxitoxin (STX) and tetrodotoxin (TTX) are frequently used to selectively block sodium channels. In this study, we provide evidence that commercial STX also inhibits L-type Ca2+ currents (I(Ca,L)) in adult mouse ventricular myocytes (VMs) and tsA-201 cells that were transiently cotransfected with three calcium channel subunits. We measured inhibition of sodium currents (INa) in mouse VMs, of I(Ca,L) in mouse VM and tsA-201 cells, and intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) transients in single mouse VMs. STX or TTX was abruptly applied before the test voltage pulse using a rapid solution switcher device. STX (10 microM; Calbiochem) and TTX (60 microM; Sigma-Aldrich) completely blocked INa in mouse VMs. However, STX at 10 microM also reduced I(Ca,L) in mouse VM by 39% (P < 0.0001; n = 14), whereas TTX at 60 microM had no effect on I(Ca,L). STX (10 microM; Calbiochem) reduced the amplitude of the [Ca2+]i transients in mouse VMs by 36% (P < 0.0001; n = 10). In contrast, TTX (60 microM; Sigma-Aldrich) only reduced the amplitude of the [Ca2+]i transients by 9% (P = 0.003; n = 5). STX (10 microM) obtained from Sigma-Aldrich showed a similar inhibitory effect on I(Ca,L) (33%) (P < 0.0001; n = 5) in mouse VMs. STX (Calbiochem) inhibited the calcium currents of tsA-201 cells in a dose-dependent manner. This inhibition was voltage-independent. The current-voltage relationship of calcium currents in tsA-201 cells was not altered by STX. These results indicate that STX partially blocks L-type Ca2+ channels and thus provide further evidence that its effects are not specific for Na+ channels.