Open Access Research article

Transcriptomic analysis of the red seaweed Laurencia dendroidea (Florideophyceae, Rhodophyta) and its microbiome

Louisi Souza de Oliveira1, Gustavo Bueno Gregoracci1, Genivaldo Gueiros Zacarias Silva2, Leonardo Tavares Salgado3, Gilberto Amado Filho3, Marcio Alves-Ferreira4, Renato Crespo Pereira5 and Fabiano L Thompson1*

Author Affiliations

1 Departamento de Biologia Marinha, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) Av. Carlos Chagas Filho, 373-CCS - IB - BLOCO A (ANEXO) A3- 202, Rio de Janeiro, 21941-599, Brazil

2 Laboratório de Bioinformática e Biologia Evolutiva, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco. Av. Prof. Moraes Rego 1235, Cidade Universitária, Recife, 50670-901, PE, Brazil

3 Instituto de Pesquisa Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, Rua Pacheco Leão, 915. Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro, 22460-030, RJ, Brazil

4 Departamento de Genética. Instituto de Biologia. Av. Prof. Rodolpho Paulo Rocco, s/n, CCS, Sala A2-93, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, 21941-599, RJ, Brazil

5 Departamento de Biologia Marinha, Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF). Morro do Valonguinho, s/n. Centro, Niteroi, 24001-970, RJ, Brazil

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BMC Genomics 2012, 13:487  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-487

Published: 17 September 2012



Seaweeds of the Laurencia genus have a broad geographic distribution and are largely recognized as important sources of secondary metabolites, mainly halogenated compounds exhibiting diverse potential pharmacological activities and relevant ecological role as anti-epibiosis. Host-microbe interaction is a driving force for co-evolution in the marine environment, but molecular studies of seaweed-associated microbial communities are still rare. Despite the large amount of research describing the chemical compositions of Laurencia species, the genetic knowledge regarding this genus is currently restricted to taxonomic markers and general genome features. In this work we analyze the transcriptomic profile of L. dendroidea J. Agardh, unveil the genes involved on the biosynthesis of terpenoid compounds in this seaweed and explore the interactions between this host and its associated microbiome.


A total of 6 transcriptomes were obtained from specimens of L. dendroidea sampled in three different coastal locations of the Rio de Janeiro state. Functional annotations revealed predominantly basic cellular metabolic pathways. Bacteria was the dominant active group in the microbiome of L. dendroidea, standing out nitrogen fixing Cyanobacteria and aerobic heterotrophic Proteobacteria. The analysis of the relative contribution of each domain highlighted bacterial features related to glycolysis, lipid and polysaccharide breakdown, and also recognition of seaweed surface and establishment of biofilm. Eukaryotic transcripts, on the other hand, were associated with photosynthesis, synthesis of carbohydrate reserves, and defense mechanisms, including the biosynthesis of terpenoids through the mevalonate-independent pathway.


This work describes the first transcriptomic profile of the red seaweed L. dendroidea, increasing the knowledge about ESTs from the Florideophyceae algal class. Our data suggest an important role for L. dendroidea in the primary production of the holobiont and the role of Bacteria as consumers of organic matter and possibly also as nitrogen source. Furthermore, this seaweed expressed sequences related to terpene biosynthesis, including the complete mevalonate-independent pathway, which offers new possibilities for biotechnological applications using secondary metabolites from L. dendroidea.

Red seaweed; Terpene; Bacteria; Holobiont; Metabolic pathway; EST