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Hehemann J.-H.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Boraston A.B.,University of Victoria | Czjzek M.,Paris-Sorbonne University | Czjzek M.,CNRS Integrative Biology of Marine Models
Current Opinion in Structural Biology | Year: 2014

Marine algae contribute approximately half of the global primary production. The large amounts of polysaccharides synthesized by these algae are degraded and consumed by microbes that utilize carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes), thus creating one of the largest and most dynamic components of the Earth's carbon cycle. Over the last decade, structural and functional characterizations of marine CAZymes have revealed a diverse set of scaffolds and mechanisms that are used to degrade agars, carrageenan, alginate and ulvan-polysaccharides from red, brown and green seaweeds, respectively. The analysis of these CAZymes is not only expanding our understanding of their functions but is enabling the enhanced annotation of (meta)-genomic data sets, thus promoting an improved understanding of microbes that drive this marine component of the carbon cycle. Furthermore, this information is setting a foundation that will enable marine algae to be harnessed as a novel resource for biorefineries. In this review, we cover the most recent structural and functional analyses of marine CAZymes that are specialized in the digestion of macro-algal polysaccharides. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Bothwell J.H.F.,Queens University of Belfast | Bothwell J.H.F.,Marine Biological Association of The United Kingdom | Bothwell J.H.F.,CNRS Integrative Biology of Marine Models | Griffin J.L.,The Hopkins Building
Biological Reviews | Year: 2011

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is one of the most powerful analytical techniques available to biology. This review is an introduction to the potential of this method and is aimed at readers who have little or no experience in acquiring or analyzing NMR spectra. We focus on spectroscopic applications of the magnetic resonance effect, rather than imaging ones, and explain how various aspects of the NMR phenomenon make it a versatile tool with which to address a number of biological problems. Using detailed examples, we discuss the use of 1H NMR spectroscopy in mixture analysis and metabolomics, the use of 13C NMR spectroscopy in tracking isotopomers and determining the flux through metabolic pathways ('fluxomics') and the use of 31P NMR spectroscopy in monitoring ATP generation and intracellular pH homeotasis in vivo. Further examples demonstrate how NMR spectroscopy can be used to probe the physical environment of a cell by measuring diffusion and the tumbling rates of individual metabolites and how it can determine macromolecular structures by measuring the bonds and distances which separate individual atoms. We finish by outlining some of the key challenges which remain in NMR spectroscopy and we highlight how recent advances-such as increased magnet field strengths, cryogenic cooling, microprobes and hyperpolarisation-are opening new avenues for today's biological NMR spectroscopists. © 2010 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2010 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

Nehr Z.,CNRS Integrative Biology of Marine Models
Plant signaling & behavior | Year: 2011

Ectocarpus siliculosus is being developed as a model organism for brown algal genetics and genomics. Brown algae are phylogenetically distant from the other multicellular phyla (green lineage, red algae, fungi and metazoan) and therefore might offer the opportunity to study novel and alternative developmental processes that lead to the establishment of multicellularity. E. siliculosus develops as uniseriate filaments, thereby displaying one of the simplest architectures among multicellular organisms. The young sporophyte grows as a primary filament and then branching occurs, preferentially at the center of the filament. We recently described the first morphogenetic mutant étoile (etl) in a brown alga, produced by UVB mutagenesis in E. siliculosus. We showed that a single recessive mutation was responsible for a defect in both cell differentiation and the very early branching pattern (first and second branch emergences). Here, we supplement this study by reporting the branching defects observed subsequently, i.e. for the later stages corresponding to the emergence of up to the first six secondary filaments, and we show that the branching process is composed of at least two distinct components: time and position. © 2011 Landes Bioscience

Dittami S.M.,CNRS Integrative Biology of Marine Models
ISME Journal | Year: 2015

Like most eukaryotes, brown algae live in association with bacterial communities that frequently have beneficial effects on their development. Ectocarpus is a genus of small filamentous brown algae, which comprises a strain that has recently colonized freshwater, a rare transition in this lineage. We generated an inventory of bacteria in Ectocarpus cultures and examined the effect they have on acclimation to an environmental change, that is, the transition from seawater to freshwater medium. Our results demonstrate that Ectocarpus depends on bacteria for this transition: cultures that have been deprived of their associated microbiome do not survive a transfer to freshwater, but restoring their microflora also restores the capacity to acclimate to this change. Furthermore, the transition between the two culture media strongly affects the bacterial community composition. Examining a range of other closely related algal strains, we observed that the presence of two bacterial operational taxonomic units correlated significantly with an increase in low salinity tolerance of the algal culture. Despite differences in the community composition, no indications were found for functional differences in the bacterial metagenomes predicted to be associated with algae in the salinities tested, suggesting functional redundancy in the associated bacterial community. Our study provides an example of how microbial communities may impact the acclimation and physiological response of algae to different environments, and thus possibly act as facilitators of speciation. It paves the way for functional examinations of the underlying host–microbe interactions, both in controlled laboratory and natural conditions.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 26 June 2015; doi:10.1038/ismej.2015.104. © 2015 International Society for Microbial Ecology

Cock J.M.,CNRS Integrative Biology of Marine Models | Godfroy O.,CNRS Integrative Biology of Marine Models | Macaisne N.,CNRS Integrative Biology of Marine Models | Coelho S.M.,CNRS Integrative Biology of Marine Models
Current Opinion in Plant Biology | Year: 2014

The life cycle of an organism is one of its fundamental features, influencing many aspects of its biology. The brown algae exhibit a diverse range of life cycles indicating that transitions between life cycle types may have been key adaptive events in the evolution of this group. Life cycle mutants, identified in the model organism Ectocarpus, are providing information about how life cycle progression is regulated at the molecular level in brown algae. We explore some of the implications of the phenotypes of the life cycle mutants described to date and draw comparisons with recent insights into life cycle regulation in the green lineage. Given the importance of coordinating growth and development with life cycle progression, we suggest that the co-option of ancient life cycle regulators to control key developmental events may be a common feature in diverse groups of multicellular eukaryotes. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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