New tools for labeling silica in living diatoms

TitleNew tools for labeling silica in living diatoms
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsDescles, J, Vartanian, M, A Harrak, E, Quinet, M, Bremond, N, Sapriel, G, Bibette, J, Lopez, PJ
JournalNew Phytologist

Silicon biomineralization is a widespread mechanism found in several kingdoms that concerns both unicellular and multicellular organisms. As a result of genomic and molecular tools, diatoms have emerged as a good model for biomineralization studies and have provided most of the current knowledge on this process. However, the number of techniques available to study its dynamics at the cellular level is still rather limited. Here, new probes were developed specifically to label the pre-existing or the newly synthesized silica frustule of several diatoms species. It is shown that the LysoTracker Yellow HCK-123, which can be used to visualize silica frustules with common filter sets, presents an enhanced signal-to-noise ratio and allows details of the frustules to be imaged without of the use of ionophores. It is also demonstrated that methoxysilane derivatives can be coupled to fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate (FITC) to preferentially label the silica components of living cells. The coupling of labeling procedures might help to address the challenging question of the process of frustule exocytosis.