A phylogenetic approach to detect selection on the target site of the antifouling compound irgarol in tolerant periphyton communities

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SummaryUsing DNA sequence data for phylogenetic assessment of toxicant targets is a new and promising approach to study toxicant-induced selection in communities. Irgarol 1051 is a photosystem (PS) II inhibitor used in antifouling paint. It inhibits photosynthesis through binding to the D1 protein in PS II, which is encoded by thepsbAgene found in genomes of chloroplasts, cyanobacteria and cyanophages.psbAmutations that alter the target protein can confer tolerance to PS II inhibitors. We have previously shown that irgarol induces community tolerance in natural marine periphyton communities and suggested a novel tolerance mechanism, involving the amino acid sequence of a turnover-regulating domain of D1, as contributive to this tolerance. Here we use a large number ofpsbAsequences of known identity to assess the taxonomic affinities ofpsbAsequences from these differentially tolerant communities, by performing phylogenetic analysis. We show that periphyton communities have highpsbAdiversity and that this diversity is adversely affected by irgarol. Moreover, we suggest that within tolerant periphyton the novel tolerance mechanism is present among diatoms only, whereas some groups of irgarol-tolerant cyanobacteria seem to have other tolerance mechanisms. However, it proved difficult to identify periphytonpsbAhaplotypes to the species or genus level, which indicates that the genomic pool of the attached, periphytic life forms is poorly studied and inadequately represented in international sequence databases.

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