National Center for
2KK2: NMR solution structure of the pheromone En-A1 from Euplotes nobilii
Antarctic and Arctic populations of the ciliate Euplotes nobilii show common pheromone-mediated cell-cell signaling and cross-mating
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. (2011) 108 p.3181-3186
Wild-type strains of the protozoan ciliate Euplotes collected from different locations on the coasts of Antarctica, Tierra del Fuego and the Arctic were taxonomically identified as the morpho-species Euplotes nobilii, based on morphometric and phylogenetic analyses. Subsequent studies of their sexual interactions revealed that mating combinations of Antarctic and Arctic strains form stable pairs of conjugant cells. These conjugant pairs were isolated and shown to complete mutual gene exchange and cross-fertilization. The biological significance of this finding was further substantiated by demonstrating that close homology exists among the three-dimensional structures determined by NMR of the water-borne signaling pheromones that are constitutively secreted into the extracellular space by these interbreeding strains, in which these molecules trigger the switch between the growth stage and the sexual stage of the life cycle. The fact that Antarctic and Arctic E. nobilii populations share the same gene pool and belong to the same biological species provides new support to the biogeographic model of global distribution of eukaryotic microorganisms, which had so far been based exclusively on studies of morphological and phylogenetic taxonomy.