Infection of the brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus by the oomycete Eurychasma dicksonii induces oxidative stress and halogen metabolism

Martina Strittmatter, Laura J. Grenville-Briggs, Lisa Breithut, Pieter Van West, Claire M. M. Gachon, Frithjof C. Kuepper

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26 Citations (Scopus)
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Pathogens are increasingly being recognized as key evolutionary and ecological drivers in marine ecosystems. Defence mechanisms of seaweeds, however, have mostly been investigated by mimicking infection using elicitors. We have established an experimental pathosystem between the genome brown model seaweed Ectocarpus siliculosus and the oomycete Eurychasma dicksonii as a powerful new tool to investigate algal responses to infection. Using proteomics, we identified 21 algal proteins differentially accumulated in response to Eu. dicksonii infection. These include classical algal stress response proteins such as a manganese superoxide dismutase, heat shock proteins 70 and a vanadium bromoperoxidase. Transcriptional profiling by qPCR confirmed the induction of the latter during infection. The accumulation of hydrogen peroxide was observed at different infection stages via histochemical staining. Inhibitor studies confirmed that the main source of hydrogen peroxide is superoxide converted by superoxide dismutase. Our data give an unprecedented global overview of brown algal responses to pathogen infection, and highlight the importance of oxidative stress and halogen metabolism in these interactions. This suggests overlapping defence pathways with herbivores and abiotic stresses. We also identify previously unreported actors, in particular a Rad23 and a plastid–lipid-associated protein, providing novel insights into the infection and defence processes in brown algae.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-271
Number of pages13
JournalPlant, Cell & Environment
Issue number2
Early online date23 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

Bibliographical note


We would like to thank the Aberdeen Proteome Facility, especially Phil Cash, David Stead and Evelyn Argo for assistance with 2D electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. M.S. gratefully acknowledges a Marie Curie PhD fellowship from the European Commission (ECOSUMMER, MEST-CT-2005-20501), a joint FEMS/ESCMID Research Fellowship and the Genomia Fund. C.M.M.G. is supported by a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship (MEIF-CT-2006-022837), a Marie Curie Re-Integration Grant (PERG03-GA-2008-230865) and a New Investigator grant from the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC, grant NE/J00460X/1). F.C.K. would like to thank NERC for funding (grants NE/D521522/1, NE/F012705/1 and Oceans 2025 / WP 4.5). L.J.G.-B., C.M.M.G., F.C.K. and P.W. would like to acknowledge funding from NERC for a Strategic Ocean Funding Initiative award (NE/F012578/1). Funding from the MASTS pooling initiative (Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland, funded by the Scottish Funding Council and contributing institutions; grant reference HR09011) and from the TOTAL Foundation (Paris) to F.C.K. is gratefully acknowledged. Finally, we would like to thank the two anonymous referees for constructive suggestions to improve our manuscript.


  • model brown alga
  • reactive oxygen species
  • vanadium-dependent bromoperoxidase


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