O. marina functional genomics – The OMFG Project
O. marina is a dinoflagellate that lives in marine rocky shores around the world, usually where tide pools form.They are voracious predators: devouring bacteria and other protists seems to be their exclusive activity. O. marina has been used as a model to study various aspects of protist physiology, ecology and cell biology. Its phylogenetic position, at the base of the dinoflagellate tree makes it attractive to address the questions we are pursuing.
We generated a transcriptome from O. marina (strain CCMP788) in order to build a comprehensive catalog of its genes and provide the basis to explore the origin and secrets of the many enigmatic features of dinoflagellates. We are using a combination of genomics and proteomics in order to identify proteins present in certain cellular components:
- Nucleus – We want to shed light on the composition of the chromatin and associated structures, which constitutes an enigma
- Plastids – O. marina is non-photosynthetic but it contains genes that suggest that an evolutionary remnant of a plastid is present. Using proteomics and cell fractionation methods we want to determine whether a plastid-related structure exists in O.marina.
- Proteorhodopsin-containing organelles – Previously we showed that O. marina expresses proteorhodopsin, a light-catching protein that is very abundant in marine bacteria. Proteorhodopsin localises to small organelles scattered through the cell. We want to characterize these organelles and find out what they do.