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The Toxic Dinoflagellate Karenia brevis Encodes Novel Type I-like Polyketide Synthases Containing Discrete Catalytic Domains

Author(s): Monroe, E.A.; F.M. Van Dolah


Publication Type: Journal Article

Journal Title: Protist

Date of Publication: 2008

Reference Information: 159(3, 7): 471-482

Keywords: dinoflagellate; harmful algal blooms; Karenia brevis; polyketide synthase; spliced leader RNA

Abstract: Karenia brevis is the Florida red tide dinoflagellate responsible for detrimental effects on human and environmental health through the production of brevetoxins. Brevetoxins are thought to be synthesized by a polyketide synthase (PKS) complex, but the gene cluster for this PKS has yet to be identified. Here eight PKS transcripts were identified in K. brevis by high throughput cDNA library screening. Full length sequences were obtained through 3' and 5' RACE, which demonstrated the presence of polyadenylation, 3'-UTRs, and an identical dinoflagellate-specific spliced leader sequence at the 5' end of PKS transcripts. Six transcripts encoded for individual ketosynthase (KS) domains, one ketoreductase (KR), and one transcript encoded both acyl carrier protein (ACP) and KS domains. Transcript lengths ranged from 1875 to 3397 nucleotides, based on sequence analysis, and were confirmed by northern blotting. Baysian phylogenetic analysis of the K. brevis KS domains placed them well within the protist Type I PKS clade. Thus although most similar to type I modular PKSs, the presence of individual catalytic domains on separate transcripts suggests a protein structure more similar to Type II PKSs, in which each catalytic domain resides on an individual protein. These results identify an unprecented PKS structure in a toxic dinoflagellate.