Click here for more information about Algenuity
Click here for more information about Liqofluxphenometrics515R1
Visit cricatalyst.com!Evodos Separation Technology

Research

Chemical communication between algae and bacteria

December 5, 2017
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Doctoral candidate Prasad Aiyar from India examines the microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Photo: Jan-Peter Kasper

If green algae of the species Chlamydomonas reinhardtii meet Pseudomonas protegens bacteria, their fate is sealed. The bacteria, measuring only some two micrometers, surround the algae, which are around five times larger, and attack them with a deadly toxic cocktail. The algae lose their flagella, which renders them immobile. The green single-celled organisms then become deformed and are no longer able to proliferate.

The chemical communication mechanism underlying this extremely effective attack has now been uncovered by botanists and natural product chemists at Friedrich Schiller University, Jena (FSU) and the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology — Hans Knöll Institute (HKI).

It is a gruesome spectacle that meets the eyes of Prasad Aiyar as he looks down the microscope. The doctoral candidate from India, who came to Jena to do his Master’s degree in Molecular Life Sciences, examines the species Chlamydomonas reinhardtii on a microscope slide. The oval-shaped microalgae, a good 10 micrometers in size, have two flagella with which they busily swim around — that is, until Prasad Aiyar uses a pipette to add a drop of a bacterial solution. The even smaller bacteria gather together into swarms, which surround the algae. Just 90 seconds later, the algae are motionless and when one looks more closely, one can see that their flagella have fallen off.

The Jena researchers have discovered why these bacteria have such a devastating effect on the green algae. It seems that a chemical substance plays a central role in the process, as the teams under Prof. Maria Mittag and Dr. Severin Sasso of the FSU, and Prof. Christian Hertweck of the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology — Hans Knöll Institute (HKI) — report in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

Orfamide A, as the substance is called, is a cyclical lipopeptide which the bacteria release, together with other chemical compounds. “Our results indicate that orfamide A affects channels in the cell membrane, which leads to these channels opening,” explains Dr. Sasso. “This leads to an influx of calcium ions from the environment into the cell interior of the algae.”

A rapid change in the concentration of calcium ions is a common alarm signal for many cell types, which regulates a large number of metabolic pathways. “To be able to observe the change in the level of calcium in the cell, we introduced the gene for a photoprotein into the green algae, which causes bioluminescence if the calcium level increases. This enables us to measure the amount of calcium with the help of the luminescence,” explains Prof. Mittag, Professor for General Botany. In some cases, the changes in the calcium lead to changes in the direction of movement, for example, after light perception. In other cases, for example after the bacterial attack, they cause the loss of the flagella.

In addition, the teams were able to show that the bacteria can tap the algae and use them as a nutrient source if they are lacking in nutrients. “We have evidence that other substances from the toxic cocktail released by the bacteria also play a role in this,” says Maria Mittag. Her team, once again in cooperation with the teams of Prof. Hertweck und Dr. Sasso, now also wants to track down these substances, in order to gain a precise understanding of this chemical communication between algae and bacteria.

Numerous research groups have dedicated their efforts to studying the “chemical language” between microorganisms and their environment as part of the Collaborative Research Centre “ChemBioSys.” Microbial species communities occur in virtually every habitat on Earth. “In these communities, both the species composition and the interrelations between individual organisms of one or more species are regulated by chemical mediators,” says Prof. Hertweck, who is the speaker for the Collaborative Research Centre and head of the Biomolecular Chemistry department at HKI.

The aim of the interdisciplinary research partnership is to explain the fundamental control mechanisms in complex biosystems, which affect the whole of life on Earth. “We want to understand the mechanisms through which the microbial community structures are formed and their diversity maintained. In view of the huge significance of microalgae for human life, we still know astonishingly little about the fundamental elements and the interactions in their microscopic world,” says Prof. Mittag.

More Like This…

Copyright ©2010-2018 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

twittertopbarlinks_eventstopbarlinks_requesttopbarlinks_archives

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
David Erickson writes in the (Montana) Missoulian that Clearas Water Recovery, a Missoula tech company formed eight years ago, has developed a patented process to use alg...
Carlsbad-based Surftech, a stand-up paddle (SUP) and Surfboard manufacturing company has announced its collaboration with BLOOM, a materials development company, to devel...
Washington State University researchers have developed a biofilm reactor to grow algae more efficiently, and make the algae more viable for several industries, including ...
Malaysia-based Algaetech International, a pioneer algae technology company specializing in R&D, as well as production and commercialization of algae-derived high valu...
Portuguese microalgae producer, Allmicroalgae Natural Products S.A., has recently begun production of Chlorella vulgaris and other microalgae species via fermentation, wh...
Ali Morris writes in dezeen.com that Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros have developed a bioplastic made from algae, which they believe could completely rep...
Watertechonline.com reports that the All-Gas project in the El Torno treatment plant in Chiclana, in southwestern Spain, in the province of Cádiz, has started its demonst...
Cyanotech Corporation a leader in microalgae-based, high-value nutrition and health products, announced financial results for the third quarter and first nine months of f...
Hayley Dunning writes from the Imperial College of London that a new discovery has changed our understanding of the basic mechanism of photosynthesis and should rewrite t...
Amy Thompson writes in Space.com that SpaceX successfully launched its 15th Space Station cargo-resupply mission on Friday, June 29; carrying a payload of experiments des...
Algae and corals have been leaning on each other since dinosaurs roamed the earth, much longer than had been previously thought, according to new research led by scientis...
Dartmouth scientists have created a more sustainable feed for aquaculture by using a marine microalga co-product as a feed ingredient. The study is the first of its kind ...