Characterization of a Marine Diatom Chitin Synthase Using a Combination of Meta-Omics, Genomics, and Heterologous Expression Approaches

mSystems. 2023 Feb 15:e0113122. doi: 10.1128/msystems.01131-22. Online ahead of print.


β-Chitin has important ecological and physiological roles and potential for widespread applications, but the characterization of chitin-related enzymes from β-chitin producers was rarely reported. Querying against the Tara Oceans Gene Atlas, 4,939 chitin-related unique sequences from 12 Pfam accessions were found in Bacillariophyta metatranscriptomes. Putative chitin synthase (CHS) sequences are decreasingly present in Crustacea (39%), Stramenopiles (16%) and Insecta (14%) from the Marine Atlas of Tara Oceans Unigenes version 1 Metatranscriptomes (MATOUv1+T) database. A CHS gene from the model diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana (Thaps3_J4413, designated TpCHS1) was identified. Homology analysis of TpCHS1 in Marine Microbial Eukaryote Transcriptome Sequencing Project (MMETSP), PhycoCosm, and the PLAZA diatom omics data set showed that Mediophyceae and Thalassionemales species were potential new β-chitin producers besides Thalassiosirales. TpCHS1 was overexpressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Phaeodactylum tricornutum. In transgenic P. tricornutum lines, TpCHS1-eGFP localizes to the Golgi apparatus and plasma membrane and predominantly accumulates in the cleavage furrow during cell division. Enhanced TpCHS1 expression could induce abnormal cell morphology and reduce growth rates in P. tricornutum, which might be ascribed to the inhibition of the G2/M phase. S. cerevisiae was proved to be a better system for expressing large amounts of active TpCHS1, which effectively incorporates UDP-N-acetylglucosamine in radiometric in vitro assays. Our study expands the knowledge on chitin synthase taxonomic distribution in marine eukaryotic microbes, and is the first to collectively characterize an active marine diatom CHS which may play an important role during cell division. IMPORTANCE As the most abundant biopolymer in the oceans, the significance of chitin and its biosynthesis is rarely demonstrated in diatoms, which are the main contributors to the primary productivity of the oceans, ascribed to their huge biomass and efficient photosynthesis. We retrieved genes involved in chitin-based metabolism against the Tara Oceans Gene Atlas to expand our knowledge about their diversity and distribution in the marine environment. Potential new producers of chitin were found from the analysis of various algal transcriptome and genome databases. Heterologous expression confirms that Thalassiosira pseudonana contains an active chitin synthase (CHS) which may play an important role in the cell division process of diatoms. This study provides new insight into CHS geographic and taxonomic distribution in marine eukaryotic microbes, as well as into a new CHS functioning in the biosynthesis of β-chitin in diatoms.

PMID:36790195 | DOI:10.1128/msystems.01131-22


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Generated by Feedzy