Single-cell genomics of multiple uncultured stramenopiles reveals underestimated functional diversity across oceans

© Fondation Tara Expéditions

Tara Oceans

Yoann Seeleuthner, Samuel Mondy, Vincent Lombard, Quentin Carradec, Eric Pelletier, Marc Wessner, Jade Leconte, Jean-François Mangot, Julie Poulain, Karine Labadie, Ramiro Logares, Shinichi Sunagawa, Véronique de Berardinis, Marcel Salanoubat, Céline Dimier, Stefanie Kandels-Lewis, Marc Picheral, Sarah Searson.

Tara Oceans Coordinators: Stephane Pesant, Nicole Poulton, Ramunas Stepanauskas, Peer Bork, Chris Bowler, Pascal Hingamp, Silvia G. Acinas, Emmanuel Boss, Michael Follows, Gabriel Gorsky, Nigel Grimsley, Lee Karp-Boss, Uros Krzic, Fabrice Not, Hiroyuki Ogata, Jeroen Raes, Emmanuel G. Reynaud, Christian Sardet, Sabrina Speich, Lars Stemmann, Didier Velayoudon, Jean Weissenbach, Matthew B. Sullivan, Daniele Iudicone, Ramon Massana, Jean-Marc Aury, Bernard Henrissat, Eric Karsenti, Olivier Jaillon, Mike Sieracki, Colomban de Vargas and Patrick Wincker.


Published online: 25 January 2018 –  Download the PDF

Nature Communications  –  DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02235-3 OPEN



Single-celled eukaryotes (protists) are critical players in global biogeochemical cycling of nutrients and energy in the oceans. While their roles as primary producers and grazers are well appreciated, other aspects of their life histories remain obscure due to challenges in culturing and sequencing their natural diversity. Here, we exploit single-cell genomics and metagenomics data from the circumglobal Tara Oceans expedition to analyze the genome content and apparent oceanic distribution of seven prevalent lineages of uncultured het- erotrophic stramenopiles. Based on the available data, each sequenced genome or genotype appears to have a specific oceanic distribution, principally correlated with water temperature and depth. The genome content provides hypotheses for specialization in terms of cell motility, food spectra, and trophic stages, including the potential impact on their lifestyles of horizontal gene transfer from prokaryotes. Our results support the idea that prominent heterotrophic marine protists perform diverse functions in ocean ecology.

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