Transcriptomic investigation into polyketide toxin synthesis in Ostreopsis (Dinophyceae) species

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Journal Article
Environmental Microbiology, 2019, 21 (11), pp. 4196 - 4211
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© 2019 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. In marine ecosystems, dinoflagellates can become highly abundant and even dominant at times, despite their comparatively slow growth. Their ecological success may be related to their production of complex toxic polyketide compounds. Ostreopsis species produce potent palytoxin-like compounds (PLTX), which are associated with human skin and eye irritations, and illnesses through the consumption of contaminated seafood. To investigate the genetic basis of PLTX-like compounds, we sequenced and annotated transcriptomes from two PLTX-producing Ostreopsis species; O. cf. ovata, O. cf. siamensis, one non-PLTX producing species, O. rhodesae and compared them to a close phylogenetic relative and non-PLTX producer, Coolia malayensis. We found no clear differences in the presence or diversity of ketosynthase and ketoreductase transcripts between PLTX producing and non-producing Ostreopsis and Coolia species, as both groups contained >90 and > 10 phylogenetically diverse ketosynthase and ketoreductase transcripts, respectively. We report for the first-time type I single-, multi-domain polyketide synthases (PKSs) and hybrid non-ribosomal peptide synthase/PKS transcripts from all species. The long multi-modular PKSs were insufficient by themselves to synthesize the large complex polyether backbone of PLTX-like compounds. This implies that numerous PKS domains, including both single and multi-, work together on the biosynthesis of PLTX-like and other related polyketide compounds.
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