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    block this user Ahmed Moustafa

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    American University in Cairo

    The making of a photosynthetic animal.

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    Symbiotic animals containing green photobionts challenge the common perception that only plants are capable of capturing the sun's rays and converting them into biological energy through photoautotrophic CO(2) fixation (photosynthesis). 'Solar-powered' sacoglossan molluscs, or sea slugs, have taken this type of symbiotic association one step further by solely harboring the photosynthetic organelle, the plastid (=chloroplast). One such sea slug, Elysia chlorotica, lives as a 'plant' when provided with only light and air as a result of acquiring plastids during feeding on its algal prey Vaucheria litorea. The captured plastids (kleptoplasts) are retained intracellularly in cells lining the digestive diverticula of the sea slug, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as kleptoplasty. Photosynthesis by the plastids provides E. chlorotica with energy and fixed carbon for its entire lifespan of ~10 months. The plastids are not transmitted vertically (i.e. are absent in eggs) and do not undergo division in the sea slug. However, de novo protein synthesis continues, including plastid- and nuclear-encoded plastid-targeted proteins, despite the apparent absence of algal nuclei. Here we discuss current data and provide hypotheses to explain how long-term photosynthetic activity is maintained by the kleptoplasts. This fascinating 'green animal' provides a unique model to study the evolution of photosynthesis in a multicellular heterotrophic organism.

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    Description

    Title : The making of a photosynthetic animal.
    Author(s) : Mary E Rumpho, Karen N Pelletreau, Ahmed Moustafa, Debashish Bhattacharya
    Abstract : Symbiotic animals containing green photobionts challenge the common perception that only plants are capable of capturing the sun's rays and converting them into biological energy through photoautotrophic CO(2) fixation (photosynthesis). 'Solar-powered' sacoglossan molluscs, or sea slugs, have taken this type of symbiotic association one step further by solely harboring the photosynthetic organelle, the plastid (=chloroplast). One such sea slug, Elysia chlorotica, lives as a 'plant' when provided with only light and air as a result of acquiring plastids during feeding on its algal prey Vaucheria litorea. The captured plastids (kleptoplasts) are retained intracellularly in cells lining the digestive diverticula of the sea slug, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as kleptoplasty. Photosynthesis by the plastids provides E. chlorotica with energy and fixed carbon for its entire lifespan of ~10 months. The plastids are not transmitted vertically (i.e. are absent in eggs) and do not undergo division in the sea slug. However, de novo protein synthesis continues, including plastid- and nuclear-encoded plastid-targeted proteins, despite the apparent absence of algal nuclei. Here we discuss current data and provide hypotheses to explain how long-term photosynthetic activity is maintained by the kleptoplasts. This fascinating 'green animal' provides a unique model to study the evolution of photosynthesis in a multicellular heterotrophic organism.
    Subject : unspecified
    Area : Other
    Language : English
    Year : 2011

    Affiliations American University in Cairo
    Journal : Journal of Experimental Biology
    Volume : 214
    Issue : Pt 2
    Pages : 303-311
    Url : http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=3008634&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract

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