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Skeletonema marinoi as a new genetic model for marine chain-forming diatoms

Journal article
Authors Oskar N. Johansson
Mats H. Töpel
Matthew I. M. Pinder
Olga Kourtchenko
Anders Blomberg
Anna Godhe
Adrian K Clarke
Published in Scientific Reports
Volume 9
ISSN 2045-2322
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of marine sciences
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Language en
Keywords phaeodactylum-tricornutum, thalassiosira-pseudonana, nuclear, transformation, evolution, genome, reveals, ocean
Subject categories Marine ecology


Diatoms are ubiquitous primary producers in marine ecosystems and freshwater habitats. Due to their complex evolutionary history, much remains unknown about the specific gene functions in diatoms that underlie their broad ecological success. In this study, we have genetically transformed the centric diatom Skeletonema marinoi, a dominant phytoplankton species in temperate coastal regions. Transformation of S. marinoi is the first for a true chain-forming diatom, with the random genomic integration via non homologous recombination of a linear DNA construct expressing the resistance gene to the antibiotic zeocin. A set of molecular tools were developed for reliably identifying the genomic insertion site within each transformant, many of which disrupt recognizable genes and constitute null or knock-down mutations. We now propose S. marinoi as a new genetic model for marine diatoms, representing true chain-forming species that play a central role in global photosynthetic carbon sequestration and the biogeochemical cycling of silicates and various nutrients, as well as having potential biotechnological applications.

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