Kroth, Peter G.

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Peter G.
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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.

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First induced plastid genome mutations in an alga with secondary plastids : psbA mutations in the diatom phaeodactylum tricornutum (bacillariophyceae) reveal consequences on the regulation of photosynthesis

2009, Materna, Arne C., Sturm, Sabine, Kroth, Peter G., Lavaud, Johann

Diatoms play a crucial role in the biochemistry and ecology of most aquatic ecosystems, especially because of their high photosynthetic productivity. They often have to cope with a fluctuating light climate and a punctuated exposure to excess light, which can be harmful for photosynthesis. To gain insight into the regulation of photosynthesis in diatoms, we generated and studied mutants of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum Bohlin carrying functionally altered versions of the plastidic psbA gene encoding the D1 protein of the PSII reaction center (PSII RC). All analyzed mutants feature an amino acid substitution in the vicinity of the QB-binding pocket of D1. We characterized the photosynthetic capacity of the mutants in comparison to wildtype cells, focusing on the way they regulate their photochemistry as a function of light intensity. The results show that the mutations resulted in constitutive changes of PSII electron transport rates. The extent of the impairment varies between mutants depending on the proximity of the mutation to the QB-binding pocket and/or to the nonheme iron within the PSII RC. The effects of the mutations described here for P. tricornutum are similar to effects in cyanobacteria and green microalgae, emphasizing the conservation of the D1 protein structure among photosynthetic organisms of different evolutionary origins.

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Evolution of the diatoms. VI. Assessment of the new genera in the araphids using molecular data.

2008, Medlin, Linda, Jung, Ines, Bahulikar, Rahul A., Mendgen, Kurt, Kroth, Peter G., Kooistra, Wiebe H. C. F.

The separation of Fragilaria and Synedra has been the subject of a long standing debate amongst diatomists. For those advocating keeping the two genera separate, several additional genera have been separated from both Fragilaria and Synedra based on morphological grounds alone. A molecular analysis has now been applied to evaluate the status of several of these new genera as well as selected taxa that can be unequivocally assigned to either Fragilaria or Synedra. Fragilaria and Synedra sensu stricto are good monophyletic genera and they are sister clades. The new genera separated from Fragilaria are not monophyletic and fall into several clades that are well separated from Fragilaria sensu stricto and thus, deserve some taxonomic ranking but not as individual genera. In contrast, the taxa separated from Synedra appear with one exception to be monophyletic and thus valid from a molecular standpoint.

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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

Background:
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.
Conclusions/Significance:
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.

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First induced plastid genome mutations in an alga with secondary plastids: psbA mutations in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum (Bacillariophyceae) reveal consequences on the regulation of photosynthesis

2009, Materna, Arne Christian, Sturm, Sabine, Kroth, Peter G., Lavaud, Johann

Diatoms play a crucial role in the biochemistry and ecology of most aquatic ecosystems, especially because of their high photosynthetic productivity. They often have to cope with a fluctuating light climate and a punctuated exposure to excess light, which can be harmful for photosynthesis. To gain insight into the regulation of photosynthesis in diatoms, we generated and studied mutants of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum Bohlin carrying functionally altered versions of the plastidic psbA gene encoding the D1 protein of the PSII reaction center (PSII RC). All analyzed mutants feature an amino acid substitution in the vicinity of the QB-binding pocket of D1. We characterized the photosynthetic capacity of the mutants in comparison to wildtype cells, focusing on the way they regulate their photochemistry as a function of light intensity. The results show that the mutations resulted in constitutive changes of PSII electron transport rates. The extent of the impairment varies between mutants depending on the proximity of the mutation to the QB-binding pocket and/or to the nonheme iron within the PSII RC. The effects of the mutations described here for P. tricornutum are similar to effects in cyanobacteria and green microalgae, emphasizing the conservation of the D1 protein structure among photosynthetic organisms of different evolutionary origins.

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Diatom plastids depend on nucleotide import from the cytosol

2009, Ast, Michelle, Gruber, Ansgar, Schmitz-Esser, Stephan, Neuhaus, Horst Ekkehard, Kroth, Peter G., Horn, Matthias, Haferkamp, Ilka

Diatoms are ecologically important algae that acquired their plastids by secondary endosymbiosis, resulting in a more complex cell structure and an altered distribution of metabolic pathways when compared with organisms with primary plastids. Diatom plastids are surrounded by 4 membranes; the outermost membrane is continuous with the endoplasmic reticulum. Genome analyses suggest that nucleotide biosynthesis is, in contrast to higher plants, not located in the plastid, but in the cytosol. As a consequence, nucleotides have to be imported into the organelle. However, the mechanism of nucleotide entry into the complex plastid is unknown. We identified a high number of putative nucleotide transporters (NTTs) in the diatoms Thalassiosira pseudonana and Phaeodactylum tricornutum and characterized the first 2 isoforms (NTT1 and NTT2). GFP-based localization studies revealed that both investigated NTTs are targeted to the plastid membranes, and that NTT1 most likely enters the innermost plastid envelope via the stroma. Heterologously expressed NTT1 acts as a proton-dependent adenine nucleotide importer, whereas NTT2 facilitates the counter exchange of (deoxy-)nucleoside triphosphates. Therefore, these transporters functionally resemble NTTs from obligate intracellular bacteria with an impaired nucleotide metabolism rather than ATP/ADP exchanging NTTs from primary plastids. We suggest that diatoms harbor a specifically-adapted nucleotide transport system and that NTTs are the key players in nucleotide supply to the complex plastid.

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Structural and functional characterization of putative regulatory DNA sequences of FCP genes in the centric diatom Cyclotella cryptica

2008, Brakemann, Tanja, Becker, Frank, Kroth, Peter G., Rhiel, Erhard

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Protocols for the removal of bacteria from freshwater benthic diatom cultures

2009, Bruckner, Christian G., Kroth, Peter G.

In this study, we describe different combinations of physical separation and antibiotic treatment to remove associated bacteria from freshwater diatoms. Diatoms were purified either from natural epilithic biofilms or from unialgal cultures. We determined that for most strains, different purification procedures have to be combined individually. In a new approach, we show that for some diatom strains, the substitution of associated aquatic bacteria by an antibiotic-sensitive Escherichia coli strain and subsequent treatment with antibiotics may be a successful strategy to obtain axenic diatom cultures. Axenic diatom cultures are essential to study the physiology and biochemistry of individual strains as well as their responses to environmental changes without interference of accompanying bacteria.

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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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Bacteria associated with benthic diatoms from Lake Constance : phylogeny and influences on diatom growth and secretion of extracellular polymeric substances

2008, Bruckner, Christian G., Bahulikar, Rahul A., Rahalkar, Monali, Schink, Bernhard, Kroth, Peter G.

The composition of diatom-associated bacterial communities was studied with 14 different unialgal xenic diatom cultures isolated from freshwater epilithic biofilms of Lake Constance, Germany. A clear dominance of Alphaproteobacteria was observed, followed by Betaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Verrucomicrobia. Pure cultures of the diatom Cymbella microcephala, which was found to be dominant in epilithic biofilms in Lake Constance, were cocultivated with six associated bacterial strains. All these bacterial strains were able to grow in C. microcephala cultures in the absence of organic cosubstrates. Diatom growth was generally enhanced in the presence of bacteria, and polysaccharide secretion was generally increased in the presence of Proteobacteria. The monomer composition of extracellular polysaccharides of C. microcephala changed in relation to the presence of different bacteria, but the dominant monomers were less affected. Our results indicate that these changes were caused by the diatom itself rather than by specific bacterial degradation. One Bacteroidetes strain strongly influenced carbohydrate secretion by the alga via extracellular soluble compounds. Biofilms were formed only in the presence of bacteria. Phylogenetic analysis and coculture studies indicate an adaptation of Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes to the microenvironment created by the diatom biofilm.