Euplotes focardii is a marine ciliated protozoan discovered in the Ross Sea near Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica. This organism is strictly psychrophilic, survives and reproduces optimally at 4–5 °C, and has a genome rich in A/T base pairs. Like other ciliated protozoans, Euplotes spp. are characterized by nuclear dimorphism: 1) the germline micronucleus contains the entire genome as large chromosomes; and 2) the somatic macronucleus (∼50megabases, or 5% of the micronuclear genome) contains small linearDNA nanochromosomes [1–12 kilobases], each of which constitutes a single genetic unit. These characteristics make E. focardii an ideal model for genome-level analysis to understand the evolutionary mechanisms that determine the adaptation of organisms to cold environments. Here we describe two examples that are controlled by phylogenetically appropriate comparison with mesophilic and psychrotolerant Euplotes species: 1) the genes and encoded proteins of the E. focardii tubulin superfamily, includingα-, β-, and γ-tubulins; and 2) the genes of the heat-shock protein (Hsp) 70 family. The tubulins provide particular insight into protein-level structural changes that are likely to facilitate microtubule nucleation and polymerization in an energy poor environment. By contrast, the hsp70 genes of E. focardii and of its psychrotolerant relative E. nobilii reveal adaptive alterations in the regulation of gene expression in the cold. The unique characteristics of the E. focardii genome and the results that we present here argue strongly for a concerted effort to characterize the relatively low complexity macronuclear genome of this psychrophilic organism.
|Titolo:||Molecular Cold-Adaptation of Protein Function and Gene Regulation: The Case for Comparative Genomic Analyses in Marine Ciliated Protozoa|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2009|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Articolo|