The Florida red tide dinoflagellate Karenia brevis: New insights into cellular and molecular processes underlying bloom dynamics

Frances M. Van Dolah, Kristy B. Lidie, Emily A. Monroe, Debashish Bhattacharya, Lisa Campbell, Gregory J. Doucette, Daniel Kamykowski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The dinoflagellate Karenia brevis is responsible for nearly annual red tides in the Gulf of Mexico that cause extensive marine mortalities and human illness due to the production of brevetoxins. Although the mechanisms regulating its bloom dynamics and toxicity have received considerable attention, investigation into these processes at the cellular and molecular level has only begun in earnest during the past decade. This review provides an overview of the recent advances in our understanding of the cellular and molecular biology on K. brevis. Several molecular resources developed for K. brevis, including cDNA and genomic DNA libraries, DNA microarrays, metagenomic libraries, and probes for population genetics, have revolutionized our ability to investigate fundamental questions about K. brevis biology. Two cellular processes have received particular attention, the vegetative cell cycle and vertical migration behavior, which are of key importance due to their roles in the development of both surface populations that constitute blooms and subsurface cell aggregations that may serve to initiate them. High throughput sequencing of cDNA libraries has provided the first glimpse of the gene repertoire in K. brevis, with approximately 12,000 unique genes identified to date. Phylogenomic analysis of these genes has revealed a high rate of horizontal gene transfer in K. brevis, which has resulted in a chimeric chloroplast through the selective retention of genes of red, green, and haptophyte origin, whose adaptive significance is not yet clear. Gene expression studies using DNA microarrays have demonstrated a prevalence of post-transcriptional gene regulation in K. brevis and led to the discovery of an unusual spliced leader trans-splicing mechanism. Among the trans-spliced gene transcripts are type I polyketide synthases (PKSs), implicated in brevetoxin biosynthesis, which are unique among type I PKSs in that each transcript encodes an individual catalytic domain, suggesting a novel gene structure in this dinoflagellate. Clone libraries of 16S ribosomal DNA sequences developed from bloom waters have unveiled the temporal and spatial complexity of the microbial soup that coexists with K. brevis and its active involvement in both bloom growth and termination processes. Finally, the development and application of population genetic markers has revealed a surprisingly high genetic diversity in K. brevis blooms, long assumed to consist of essentially clonal populations. With these foundations in place, our understanding of K. brevis bloom dynamics is likely to grow exponentially in the next few years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)562-572
Number of pages11
JournalHarmful Algae
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

red tide
algal blooms
dinoflagellate
algal bloom
gene
DNA
brevetoxins
genes
polyketide synthases
population genetics
gene transfer
genetic marker
vertical migration
trans-splicing
Miozoa
Karenia brevis
chloroplast
gene expression
clone
genomics

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science

Keywords

  • Bacterial-algal interactions
  • Cell cycle
  • Dinoflagellate
  • Florida red tide
  • Genome
  • Harmful algal bloom
  • Horizontal gene transfer
  • Karenia brevis
  • Population genetics
  • Vertical migration

Cite this

Van Dolah, Frances M. ; Lidie, Kristy B. ; Monroe, Emily A. ; Bhattacharya, Debashish ; Campbell, Lisa ; Doucette, Gregory J. ; Kamykowski, Daniel. / The Florida red tide dinoflagellate Karenia brevis : New insights into cellular and molecular processes underlying bloom dynamics. In: Harmful Algae. 2009 ; Vol. 8, No. 4. pp. 562-572.
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abstract = "The dinoflagellate Karenia brevis is responsible for nearly annual red tides in the Gulf of Mexico that cause extensive marine mortalities and human illness due to the production of brevetoxins. Although the mechanisms regulating its bloom dynamics and toxicity have received considerable attention, investigation into these processes at the cellular and molecular level has only begun in earnest during the past decade. This review provides an overview of the recent advances in our understanding of the cellular and molecular biology on K. brevis. Several molecular resources developed for K. brevis, including cDNA and genomic DNA libraries, DNA microarrays, metagenomic libraries, and probes for population genetics, have revolutionized our ability to investigate fundamental questions about K. brevis biology. Two cellular processes have received particular attention, the vegetative cell cycle and vertical migration behavior, which are of key importance due to their roles in the development of both surface populations that constitute blooms and subsurface cell aggregations that may serve to initiate them. High throughput sequencing of cDNA libraries has provided the first glimpse of the gene repertoire in K. brevis, with approximately 12,000 unique genes identified to date. Phylogenomic analysis of these genes has revealed a high rate of horizontal gene transfer in K. brevis, which has resulted in a chimeric chloroplast through the selective retention of genes of red, green, and haptophyte origin, whose adaptive significance is not yet clear. Gene expression studies using DNA microarrays have demonstrated a prevalence of post-transcriptional gene regulation in K. brevis and led to the discovery of an unusual spliced leader trans-splicing mechanism. Among the trans-spliced gene transcripts are type I polyketide synthases (PKSs), implicated in brevetoxin biosynthesis, which are unique among type I PKSs in that each transcript encodes an individual catalytic domain, suggesting a novel gene structure in this dinoflagellate. Clone libraries of 16S ribosomal DNA sequences developed from bloom waters have unveiled the temporal and spatial complexity of the microbial soup that coexists with K. brevis and its active involvement in both bloom growth and termination processes. Finally, the development and application of population genetic markers has revealed a surprisingly high genetic diversity in K. brevis blooms, long assumed to consist of essentially clonal populations. With these foundations in place, our understanding of K. brevis bloom dynamics is likely to grow exponentially in the next few years.",
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The Florida red tide dinoflagellate Karenia brevis : New insights into cellular and molecular processes underlying bloom dynamics. / Van Dolah, Frances M.; Lidie, Kristy B.; Monroe, Emily A.; Bhattacharya, Debashish; Campbell, Lisa; Doucette, Gregory J.; Kamykowski, Daniel.

In: Harmful Algae, Vol. 8, No. 4, 01.03.2009, p. 562-572.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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T1 - The Florida red tide dinoflagellate Karenia brevis

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AU - Van Dolah, Frances M.

AU - Lidie, Kristy B.

AU - Monroe, Emily A.

AU - Bhattacharya, Debashish

AU - Campbell, Lisa

AU - Doucette, Gregory J.

AU - Kamykowski, Daniel

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KW - Karenia brevis

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