Identification and phylogeny of putative PEPC genes in three toxin‐producing Karenia (Dinophyta) species Academic Article uri icon


  • Dense blooms of toxin-producing Karenia brevis increase local surface ocean pH through CO2 uptake. To identify genes that may contribute to bloom-related environmental pH and pCO2 changes, transcriptomes with RNA from K. brevis Wilson cultures that had been acclimated to low CO2 (250 ppm) or recent CO2 (350 ppm) pCO2 levels were assembled. Among the annotated transcripts were PEPC, PPDK, and PEPCK enzymes found in the model C4 carbon fixation pathway. Previous studies have demonstrated that the enzymatic activity of PEPC, PPDK, and/or PEPCK in some algae species, including marine diatoms, is influenced by variations in dissolved inorganic carbon. We found significantly similar PEPC, PPDK, and PEPCK enzymes in the transcriptomes of K. brevis and two sister species Karenia papilionacea, and Karenia mikimotoi. One or more isoforms of PEPC were also identified in the transcriptomes of thirty additional photosynthetic phytoplankton species from nine phyla. Phylogenetic trees were constructed with neighbor joining and maximum likelihood techniques to characterize the evolutionary relationship among phytoplankton, terrestrial plant C4, and terrestrial plant C3 PEPC sequences. Based on the nucleotide trees constructed during this study, the Karenia PEPC transcripts were more closely related to the terrestrial C4 genes than the terrestrial C3 genes. Furthermore, PEPC phylogeny among phytoplankton closely resembles phylogenetic trees constructed with ribosomal RNA. This study confirmed that the toxin-producing dinoflagellates K. brevis, K. mikimotoi, and K. papilionacea express putative PEPC, PEPCK, and PPDK transcripts.

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Ryan, D. E., & Campbell, L.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • June 2016