Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lure for Diatoms

17.12.2012
Diatom sex pheromone isolated and characterized

Diatoms (unicellular photosynthetic organisms) reproduce through asexual cell division alternating with short periods of sexual reproduction.

A German and Belgian team has now determined that pheromones play an important role in this. As the researchers report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, they were able to isolate and structurally characterize one of these lures.

Diatoms have hard mineral shells that are formed like a hatbox from two overlapping halves. During the asexual reproduction phase, the new cells each get one half of the original shell and make the second half themselves. Because the new part of the shell is made inside the shell of the mother cell, the cell size of a given population constantly decreases. Once a critical cell size is reached, the diatoms must switch to sexual reproduction in order to survive. This produces a cell of the original size.

There are indications that for some species, pheromones are involved as regulators in the differentiation and pairing of the cells. The chemical structure of these signaling molecules was previously unknown. A team from the Universities of Ghent (Belgium) and Jena (Germany) has now researched the role of such messenger molecules in the reproduction of Seminavis robusta.

When S. robusta reaches its species-specific critical cell size, two types of sexual cell are differentiated; these are designated as + and – .

Afterwards, all of the cells of the mobile + mating type gather around an attracting – cell. A team led by Georg Pohnert, Marnik Vuylsteke, and Wim Vyverman has now been able to prove that both mating types produce chemical signals that activate the mating behavior of their partner. To do this, the researchers extracted the culture medium from diatoms in various states and used this extracted material as a source of pheromones.

They demonstrated that chemical messengers must be activated in order to herald the sexual readiness of the two types of cells. The – cells thus release substances that greatly increase the mobility of the + cells; and the + cells release substances that induce the – cells to become prepared to mate and cause them to excrete the actual attracting pheromone. Both mating types rely on signaling molecules to ensure the presence of a mature mating partner before they invest in a sexual response themselves. This increases the chances of successful sexual reproduction.

By comparing the different metabolic products released during the different phases of the reproductive cycle using a method known as “metabolomics”, the researchers found the lure used by the – cells. They isolated it and identified it as diproline. They were able to synthesize this substance by starting from the amino acid proline and determined its absolute configuration.

Research continues in order to determine the extent to which this new pheromone chemistry can be used to promote the growth of algae in aquaculture or to control undesirable algal biofilms.
About the Author
Georg Pohnert is Professor at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena where he leads a group working in the field of bioorganic analytics. His research is focused on the elucidation of signal molecules that play a role in the communication of marine organisms, with a particular emphasis on the chemical language of algae.
Author: Georg Pohnert, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (Germany), http://www.uni-jena.de/Contact_page_158398.html
Title: Metabolomics Enabeled Structure Elucidation of a Diatom Sex Pheromone
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201208175

Georg Pohnert | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://pressroom.angewandte.org
http://www.uni-jena.de/Contact_page_158398.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Embryonic development: How do limbs develop from cells?
18.05.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

nachricht Reading histone modifications, an oncoprotein is modified in return
18.05.2018 | American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>