A joint proteomic and genomic investigation provides insights into the mechanism of calcification in coccolithophores

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Alastair Skeffington - , University of Exeter (First author)
  • Axel Fischer - (Author)
  • Sanja Sviben - , Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (Author)
  • Magdalena Brzezinka - (Author)
  • Michal Górka - (Author)
  • Luca Bertinetti - , Chair of Bioprospecting (Author)
  • Christian Woehle - (Author)
  • Bruno Huettel - , Max Planck-Genome-Centre Cologne (Author)
  • Alexander Graf - (Author)
  • André Scheffel - , Chair of Microalgeal Cell and Molecular Biology (Heisenberg) (Last author)


Coccolithophores are globally abundant, calcifying microalgae that have profound effects on marine biogeochemical cycles, the climate, and life in the oceans. They are characterized by a cell wall of CaCO 3 scales called coccoliths, which may contribute to their ecological success. The intricate morphologies of coccoliths are of interest for biomimetic materials synthesis. Despite the global impact of coccolithophore calcification, we know little about the molecular machinery underpinning coccolithophore biology. Working on the model Emiliania huxleyi, a globally distributed bloom-former, we deploy a range of proteomic strategies to identify coccolithogenesis-related proteins. These analyses are supported by a new genome, with gene models derived from long-read transcriptome sequencing, which revealed many novel proteins specific to the calcifying haptophytes. Our experiments provide insights into proteins involved in various aspects of coccolithogenesis. Our improved genome, complemented with transcriptomic and proteomic data, constitutes a new resource for investigating fundamental aspects of coccolithophore biology.


Original languageEnglish
Article number3749
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2023

External IDs

PubMed 37353496
Mendeley 10041797-5f60-357e-bb13-e3ed60858a43
Scopus 85162812393
ORCID /0000-0002-4666-9610/work/142238948


Sustainable Development Goals


  • Proteomics, Calcification, Physiologic/genetics, Oceans and Seas, Genomics, Haptophyta/genetics

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