The central carbon and energy metabolism of marine diatoms

Diatoms are heterokont algae derived from a secondary symbiotic event in which a eukaryotic host cell acquired an eukaryotic red alga as plastid. The multiple endosymbiosis and horizontal gene transfer processes provide diatoms unusual opportunities for gene mixing to establish distinctive biosynthetic pathways and metabolic control structures. Diatoms are also known to have significant impact on global ecosystems as one of the most dominant phytoplankton species in the contemporary ocean. As such their metabolism and growth regulating factors have been of particular interest for many years. The publication of the genomic sequences of two independent species of diatoms and the advent of an enhanced experimental toolbox for molecular biological investigations have afforded far greater opportunities than were previously apparent for these species and re-invigorated studies regarding the central carbon metabolism of diatoms. In this review we discuss distinctive features of the central carbon metabolism of diatoms and its response to forthcoming environmental changes and recent advances facilitating the possibility of industrial use of diatoms for oil production. Although the operation and importance of several key pathways of diatom metabolism have already been demonstrated and determined, we will also highlight other potentially important pathways wherein this has yet to be achieved.

Obata T., Fernie A. R. & Nunes-Nesi A., 2013. The central carbon and energy metabolism of marine diatoms. Metabolites 3(2): 325-346. Article.


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