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New Phytol. 2015 Feb;205(3):1227-38. doi: 10.1111/nph.13108. Epub 2014 Oct 17.

Floridoside and isofloridoside are synthesized by trehalose 6-phosphate synthase-like enzymes in the red alga Galdieria sulphuraria.

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  • 1Institut für Biowissenschaften, Abteilung Pflanzenphysiologie, Universität Rostock, Albert-Einstein-Straße 3, D-18059, Rostock, Germany.


Compatible solutes are small molecules that are involved in acclimation to various abiotic stresses, especially high salinity. Among the red algae, the main photosynthetic products floridoside and isofloridoside (galactosylglycerols) are known also to contribute to the osmotic acclimation of cells. However, the genes encoding (iso)floridoside biosynthetic enzymes are still unknown. To identify candidate genes, we examined the genome of the floridoside- and isofloridoside-accumulating extremophilic red alga Galdieria sulphuraria belonging to the Cyanidiales. We hypothesized that two candidate genes, Gasu_10960 and Gasu_26940, code for enzymes involved in floridoside and isofloridoside biosynthesis. These proteins comprise a sugar phosphate synthase and a sugar phosphate phosphatase domain. To verify their biochemical activity, both genes were in vitro translated into the entire proteins. The protein translation mixture containing Gasu_10960 synthesized small amounts of isofloridoside, whereas the Gasu_26940 translation mix also produced small amounts of floridoside. Moreover, the expression of Gasu_10960 in a salt-sensitive mutant of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 resulted in increased salt tolerance as a consequence of the presence of isofloridoside in the complemented cells. Thus, our experiments suggest that the Gasu_26940 and Gasu_10960 genes of G. sulphuraria encode the enzymatically active floridoside and isofloridoside phosphate synthase/phosphatase fusion proteins, respectively, crucial for salt acclimation.


Galdieria sulphuraria; compatible solute; galactosylglycerol; red algae; salt stress; sugar phosphate phosphatase; sugar phosphate synthase

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