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Metabolomics Enables the Structure Elucidation of a Diatom Sex Pheromone


  • Financial support (G.P., J.F., C.P.) from the Volkswagen Foundation, the IMPRS (“Exploration of Ecological Interactions with Molecular and Chemical Techniques”), and the Jena School for Microbial Communication is acknowledged. J.G. and V.D. were funded by the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT)—Flanders“, J.G. by an EMBO short-term fellowship (ASTF 410.00-2008). W.V., K.S., D.I., and M. V. acknowledge Belspo for funding the Belgian-coordinated ”Culture Collections of Microorganisms (BCCM)“ and Ghent University Research Funding (BOFGOA 01G01911).


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Finding a mate: Diatoms use chemical signals to sense the presence of and find their mating partners. When the metabolic profiles of sexually active and inactive cells were compared, a highly up-regulated metabolite generated in the attracting mating type was identified as di-L-prolyl diketopiperazine, the first diatom pheromone.

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