In situ expression of eukaryotic ice-binding proteins in microbial communities of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice

Christiane Uhlig, Fabian Kilpert, Stephan Frickenhaus, Jessica U. Kegel, Andreas Krell, Thomas Mock, Klaus Valentin, Bánk Beszteri

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Ice-binding proteins (IBPs) have been isolated from various sea-ice organisms. Their characterisation points to a crucial role in protecting the organisms in sub-zero environments. However, their in situ abundance and diversity in natural sea-ice microbial communities is largely unknown. In this study, we analysed the expression and phylogenetic diversity of eukaryotic IBP transcripts from microbial communities of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. IBP transcripts were found in abundances similar to those of proteins involved in core cellular processes such as photosynthesis. Eighty-nine percent of the IBP transcripts grouped with known IBP sequences from diatoms, haptophytes and crustaceans, but the majority represented novel sequences not previously characterized in cultured organisms. The observed high eukaryotic IBP expression in natural eukaryotic sea ice communities underlines the essential role of IBPs for survival of many microorganisms in communities living under the extreme conditions of polar sea ice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2537-2540
Number of pages4
JournalISME Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015

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