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
WesTech Engineering, Inc. and Utah State University’s Sustainable Waste-to-Bioproducts Engineering Center (SWBEC) are jointly engaged in developing processes for more eff...
Sex self-destruction represents a fascinating new scientific mystery that includes climate chaos, ghost forests, temperature spikes, fierce storms, colossal nutrient coll...
Colorado State University scientists and Arizona State University’s Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation are partners in a three-year grant of up to $3.5 mi...
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...
Trade Arabia reports that the Oman Centre for Marine Biotechnology (OCMB) recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Swedish Algae Factory to support the domestic...
The recently signed US two-year budget deal – featuring bipartisan support for a $35 per ton tax incentive for carbon captured and recycled from power plants or industria...
42 Technology has been appointed by LabXero, acoustic particle filtration technology company, to help develop pilot-scale biomanufacturing equipment that could significan...
Cody Nelson writes for MPRNews.org that a team of University of Minnesota-Duluth researchers wanted to know how shortening winters — and less ice cover on lakes — might i...
Israeli-based Algatechnologies, Ltd. (Algatech) has become the major shareholder in Supreme Health New Zealand, Ltd. (Supreme) to supply the rapidly growing markets in Ch...
French researchers have been exploring the potential of algae for boosting the immune systems of animals and reducing the use of antibiotics in livestock farming. Past st...
Israeli-based Algatechnologies, Ltd. (Algatech), is teaming up with the Italian R&D company, Sphera Encapsulation S.r.l (Sphera), to develop innovative functional ingredi...