Gruber, Ansgar


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Intracellular distribution of the reductive and oxidative pentose phosphate pathways in two diatoms

2009, Gruber, Ansgar, Weber, Till, Río Bártulos, Carolina, Vugrinec, Sascha, Kroth, Peter G.

Diatoms contribute a large proportion to the worldwide primary production and are particularly effective in fixing carbon dioxide. Possibly because diatom plastids originate from a secondary endocytobiosis, their cellular structure is more complex and metabolic pathways are rearranged within diatom cells compared to cells containing primary plastids. We annotated genes encoding isozymes of the reductive and oxidative pentose phosphate pathways in the genomes of the centric diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana and the pennate diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum and bioinformatically inferred their intracellular distribution. Prediction results were confirmed by fusion of selected presequences to Green Fluorescent Protein and expression of these constructs in P. tricornutum. Calvin cycle enzymes for the carbon fixation and reduction of 3-phosphoglycerate are present in single isoforms, while we found multiple isoenzymes involved in the regeneration of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate. We only identified one cytosolic sedoheptulose-1,7-bisphosphatase in both investigated diatoms. The oxidative pentose phosphate pathway seems to be restricted to the cytosol in diatoms, since we did not find stromal glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and 6-phosphogluconolactone dehydrogenase isoforms. However, the two species apparently possess a plastidic phosphogluconolactonase. A 6-phosphogluconolactone dehydrogenase is apparently plastid associated in P. tricornutum and might be active in the periplastidic compartment, suggesting that this compartment might be involved in metabolic processes in diatoms.

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The Presence and Localization of Thioredoxins in Diatoms, Unicellular Algae of Secondary Endosymbiotic Origin

2009, Weber, Till, Gruber, Ansgar, Kroth, Peter G.

Diatoms are unicellular algae of great ecological importance. So far, very little is known about the regulation of carbon fixation in these algae; however, there are strong indications that in diatom plastids, the ferredoxin/thioredoxin system might play a minor role in redox regulation of the photosynthetic reactions compared to land plants. Until now, it is unknown whether there are fewer or other target enzymes of thioredoxins in diatoms. Only a single potential target enzyme for thioredoxin, the plastidic fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase, has yet been identified. Nevertheless, during the annotation of the genome of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum, we identified several genes encoding different thioredoxins. Utilizing in vivo expression of GFP:presequence fusion proteins in P. tricornutum, we were able to show that these thioredoxins are targeted either into plastids, mitochondria, or remain in the cytosol. Surprisingly, two of the three usually cytosolic thioredoxin h proteins are apparently plastid associated and, together with a thioredoxin reductase, putatively located in the periplastidic compartment. This is one of the few indications for so far unknown enzymatic reactions in the space between the two pairs of diatom plastid envelope membranes.


A Model for Carbohydrate Metabolism in the Diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum Deduced from Comparative Whole Genome Analysis

2008, Kroth, Peter G., Chiovitti, Anthony, Gruber, Ansgar, Martin-Jezequel, Veronique, Mock, Thomas, Schnitzler Parker, Micaela, Stanley, Michele S., Kaplan, Aaron, Caron, Lise, Weber, Till, Maheswari, Uma, Armbrust, Elisabeth Virginia, Bowler, Chris, Kroymann, Juergen

Diatoms are unicellular algae responsible for approximately 20% of global carbon fixation. Their evolution by secondary endocytobiosis resulted in a complex cellular structure and metabolism compared to algae with primary plastids.
Methodology/Principal Findings:
The whole genome sequence of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum has recently been completed. We identified and annotated genes for enzymes involved in carbohydrate pathways based on extensive EST support and comparison to the whole genome sequence of a second diatom, Thalassiosira pseudonana. Protein localization to mitochondria was predicted based on identified similarities to mitochondrial localization motifs in other eukaryotes, whereas protein localization to plastids was based on the presence of signal peptide motifs in combination with plastid localization motifs previously shown to be required in diatoms. We identified genes potentially involved in a C4-like photosynthesis in P. tricornutum and, on the basis of sequence-based putative localization of relevant proteins, discuss possible differences in carbon concentrating mechanisms and CO2 fixation between the two diatoms. We also identified genes encoding enzymes involved in photorespiration with one interesting exception: glycerate kinase was not found in either P. tricornutum or T. pseudonana. Various Calvin cycle enzymes were found in up to five different isoforms, distributed between plastids, mitochondria and the cytosol. Diatoms store energy either as lipids or as chrysolaminaran (a β-1,3-glucan) outside of the plastids. We identified various β-glucanases and large membrane-bound glucan synthases. Interestingly most of the glucanases appear to contain C-terminal anchor domains that may attach the enzymes to membranes.
Here we present a detailed synthesis of carbohydrate metabolism in diatoms based on the genome sequences of Thalassiosira pseudonana and Phaeodactylum tricornutum. This model provides novel insights into acquisition of dissolved inorganic carbon and primary metabolic pathways of carbon in two different diatoms, which is of significance for an improved understanding of global carbon cycles.