A joint proteomic and genomic investigation provides insights into the mechanism of calcification in coccolithophores



Skeffington A, Fischer A, Sviben S, Brzezinka M, Górka M, Bertinetti L, Woehle C, Huettel B, Graf A & Scheffel A (2023) A joint proteomic and genomic investigation provides insights into the mechanism of calcification in coccolithophores. Nature Communications, 14 (1), Art. No.: 3749.

Coccolithophores are globally abundant, calcifying microalgae that have profound effects on marine biogeochemical cycles, the climate, and life in the oceans. They are characterized by a cell wall of CaCO3 scales called coccoliths, which may contribute to their ecological success. The intricate morphologies of coccoliths are of interest for biomimetic materials synthesis. Despite the global impact of coccolithophore calcification, we know little about the molecular machinery underpinning coccolithophore biology. Working on the model Emiliania huxleyi, a globally distributed bloom-former, we deploy a range of proteomic strategies to identify coccolithogenesis-related proteins. These analyses are supported by a new genome, with gene models derived from long-read transcriptome sequencing, which revealed many novel proteins specific to the calcifying haptophytes. Our experiments provide insights into proteins involved in various aspects of coccolithogenesis. Our improved genome, complemented with transcriptomic and proteomic data, constitutes a new resource for investigating fundamental aspects of coccolithophore biology.

Genomic investigation; Mechanism; Calcification; Coccolithophores:

Nature Communications: Volume 14, Issue 1

FundersDeutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Publication date31/12/2023
Publication date online23/06/2023
Date accepted by journal05/06/2023
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC

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Dr Alastair Skeffington

Dr Alastair Skeffington

Lecturer in Environmental Genomics, Biological and Environmental Sciences