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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Aug;72(8):5512-26.

cDNA microarrays as a tool for identification of biomineralization proteins in the coccolithophorid Emiliania huxleyi (Haptophyta).

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, California State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, CA 92078, USA.


Marine unicellular coccolithophore algae produce species-specific calcite scales otherwise known as coccoliths. While the coccoliths and their elaborate architecture have attracted the attention of investigators from various scientific disciplines, our knowledge of the underpinnings of the process of biomineralization in this alga is still in its infancy. The processes of calcification and coccolithogenesis are highly regulated and likely to be complex, requiring coordinated expression of many genes and pathways. In this study, we have employed cDNA microarrays to investigate changes in gene expression associated with biomineralization in the most abundant coccolithophorid, Emiliania huxleyi. Expression profiling of cultures grown under calcifying and noncalcifying conditions has been carried out using cDNA microarrays corresponding to approximately 2,300 expressed sequence tags. A total of 127 significantly up- or down-regulated transcripts were identified using a P value of 0.01 and a change of >2.0-fold. Real-time reverse transcriptase PCR was used to test the overall validity of the microarray data, as well as the relevance of many of the proteins predicted to be associated with biomineralization, including a novel gamma-class carbonic anhydrase (A. R. Soto, H. Zheng, D. Shoemaker, J. Rodriguez, B. A. Read, and T. M. Wahlund, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 72:5500-5511, 2006). Differentially regulated genes include those related to cellular metabolism, ion channels, transport proteins, vesicular trafficking, and cell signaling. The putative function of the vast majority of candidate transcripts could not be defined. Nonetheless, the data described herein represent profiles of the transcription changes associated with biomineralization-related pathways in E. huxleyi and have identified novel and potentially useful targets for more detailed analysis.

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