Pitta Paraskevi

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  • Article
    Lipid remodelling is a widespread strategy in marine heterotrophic bacteria upon phosphorus deficiency
    (Nature Publishing Group, 2015-11-13) Sebastian, Marta ; Smith, Alastair ; Gonzalez, Jose M. ; Fredricks, Helen F. ; Van Mooy, Benjamin A. S. ; Koblizek, Michal ; Brandsma, Joost ; Koster, Grielof ; Mestre, Mireia ; Mostajir, Behzad ; Pitta, Paraskevi ; Postle, Anthony D. ; Sanchez, Pablo ; Gasol, Josep M. ; Scanlan, David J. ; Chen, Yin
    Upon phosphorus (P) deficiency, marine phytoplankton reduce their requirements for P by replacing membrane phospholipids with alternative non-phosphorus lipids. It was very recently demonstrated that a SAR11 isolate also shares this capability when phosphate starved in culture. Yet, the extent to which this process occurs in other marine heterotrophic bacteria and in the natural environment is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that the substitution of membrane phospholipids for a variety of non-phosphorus lipids is a conserved response to P deficiency among phylogenetically diverse marine heterotrophic bacteria, including members of the Alphaproteobacteria and Flavobacteria. By deletion mutagenesis and complementation in the model marine bacterium Phaeobacter sp. MED193 and heterologous expression in recombinant Escherichia coli, we confirm the roles of a phospholipase C (PlcP) and a glycosyltransferase in lipid remodelling. Analyses of the Global Ocean Sampling and Tara Oceans metagenome data sets demonstrate that PlcP is particularly abundant in areas characterized by low phosphate concentrations. Furthermore, we show that lipid remodelling occurs seasonally and responds to changing nutrient conditions in natural microbial communities from the Mediterranean Sea. Together, our results point to the key role of lipid substitution as an adaptive strategy enabling heterotrophic bacteria to thrive in the vast P-depleted areas of the ocean.
  • Article
    Defining planktonic protist functional groups on mechanisms for energy and nutrient acquisition : incorporation of diverse mixotrophic strategies
    (Elsevier, 2016-01-03) Mitra, Aditee ; Flynn, Kevin J. ; Tillmann, Urban ; Raven, John A. ; Caron, David A. ; Stoecker, Diane K. ; Not, Fabrice ; Hansen, Per J. ; Hallegraeff, Gustaaf M. ; Sanders, Robert W. ; Wilken, Susanne ; McManus, George ; Johnson, Matthew D. ; Pitta, Paraskevi ; Våge, Selina ; Berge, Terje ; Calbet, Albert ; Thingstad, Frede ; Jeong, Hae Jin ; Burkholder, JoAnn M. ; Glibert, Patricia M. ; Graneli, Edna ; Lundgren, Veronica
    Arranging organisms into functional groups aids ecological research by grouping organisms (irrespective of phylogenetic origin) that interact with environmental factors in similar ways. Planktonic protists traditionally have been split between photoautotrophic “phytoplankton” and phagotrophic “microzooplankton”. However, there is a growing recognition of the importance of mixotrophy in euphotic aquatic systems, where many protists often combine photoautotrophic and phagotrophic modes of nutrition. Such organisms do not align with the traditional dichotomy of phytoplankton and microzooplankton. To reflect this understanding, we propose a new functional grouping of planktonic protists in an eco-physiological context: (i) phagoheterotrophs lacking phototrophic capacity, (ii) photoautotrophs lacking phagotrophic capacity, (iii) constitutive mixotrophs (CMs) as phagotrophs with an inherent capacity for phototrophy, and (iv) non-constitutive mixotrophs (NCMs) that acquire their phototrophic capacity by ingesting specific (SNCM) or general non-specific (GNCM) prey. For the first time, we incorporate these functional groups within a foodweb structure and show, using model outputs, that there is scope for significant changes in trophic dynamics depending on the protist functional type description. Accordingly, to better reflect the role of mixotrophy, we recommend that as important tools for explanatory and predictive research, aquatic food-web and biogeochemical models need to redefine the protist groups within their frameworks.