An ecological and evolutionary context for integrated nitrogen metabolism and related signaling pathways in marine diatoms

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2006 Jun;9(3):264-73. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2006.03.013. Epub 2006 Apr 17.


Whole-genome sequence analysis has revealed that diatoms contain genes and pathways that are novel in photosynthetic eukaryotes. More generally, the unique evolutionary footprint of the chromalveolates, which includes a genome fusion between a heterotrophic protist and a red alga in addition to a major prokaryotic influence, has fostered their inheritance of a unique complement of metabolic capabilities. Many aspects of nitrogen metabolism and cell signaling appear to be linked in diatoms. This new perspective provides a basis for understanding the ecological dominance of diatoms in contemporary oceans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution*
  • Diatoms / genetics*
  • Diatoms / metabolism*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Nitrogen / metabolism*
  • Phylogeny
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Nitrogen