What is it about?

Diatoms are major primary producers in the marine environment that make ornate cell walls out of silica. We show how a molecular proton pump regulates acidity inside the cell to control the production and detailed architecture of these cell walls.

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Why is it important?

Diatoms are major primary producers on earth and their growth is dependent on the construction of their silica cell walls. We have determined at the V-type proton pump is responsible for acidifying the subcellular site of cell wall synthesis and promotes the formation of the cell wall.


This was an incredible study to carry out, I still remember imaging the first cell showing the presence of the V-type proton pump in the membrane surrounding the new cell wall and the excitement that came with it. There are so many ways to characterize the function of proteins and I am glad that I was able to employ high power microscopes to generate the bulk of evidence for this study. It was also a privilege to work under the guidance of the late Dr. Mark Hildebrand, whose expertise in and enthusiasm for diatom biology was key to the success of this project.

Daniel Yee
Scripps Institution of Oceanography

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This page is a summary of: Dynamic subcellular translocation of V‐type H + ‐ATPase is essential for biomineralization of the diatom silica cell wall, New Phytologist, November 2019, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/nph.16329.
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