1Integrative Marine Ecology, Stazione Zoologica Napoli 'Anton Dohrn', Naples, ITA
2Integrative Marine Ecology, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples, ITA
3Laboratoire De Physiologie Cellulaire Et Végétale, Institut De Recherche En Science Et Technologies Pour Le Vivant, Grenoble, FRA
4Istituto Di Chimica Biomolecolare, Italian National Research Council (CNR), Pozzuoli, ITA
Diatoms are among the most successful primary producers in ocean and freshwater environments, besides being the most fascinating organisms because of their mixed genome containing bacterial, animal and plant genes. Studying the transcriptomes of two strains of the diatom Skeletonema marinoi we report, for the first time in microalgae, an active animal-like prostaglandin pathway that is differentially expressed in the two strains. Prostaglandins are very important hormone-like mediators in many physiological and pathological processes in mammals. The occurrence of animal-like prostaglandins in unicellular photosynthetic eukaryotes opens up new intriguing perspectives on the evolution and role of these molecules in the marine environment as possible mediators in cell-to-cell signalling, eventually influencing population dynamics in the plankton. In addition, the possibility to easily grow microalgae in the laboratory makes them an attractive source to eventually produce natural prostaglandins, along with other secondary metabolites, for biomedical applications.