Document Type


Date of Original Version



Dinophysis acuminata cells were isolated from Narragansett Bay water samples in June 2005 using flow cytometry. Dinoflagellate-specific PCR primers were used to isolate small-subunit rRNA (18S rRNA), mitochondrial cytochrome b (cob), and cytochrome c oxidase I (cox1) genes and the encoded cDNAs. Maximum-likelihood analysis of a concatenated data set of ribosomal DNA and cDNA sequences of cob and cox1 showed that D. acuminata was sister to Gonyaulacoids, but without strong bootstrap support. The approximately unbiased test could not reject alternative positions of D. acuminata. To gain better resolution, mRNA editing of cob and cox1 was inferred for D. acuminata and 13 other dinoflagellate species. The location and type of editing as well as the distribution pattern in D. acuminata were generally similar to those in other dinoflagellates except for two edited sites that are unique to this species. Bayesian analyses of a matrix that recorded the location and type of editing, and of a matrix that included the protein sequences of COB and COX1 with the editing data yielded tree topologies similar to the three-gene tree but again failed to resolve the phylogenetic position of D. acuminata. However, the density of edited sites in the D. acuminata mitochondrial genes, consistent with phylogenetic trees, indicated that Dinophysis is a derived dinoflagellate lineage, diverging after other lineages such as Oxyrrhis, Amphidinium, and Symbiodinium. We demonstrate that dinoflagellate-specific PCR coupled with flow cytometry can be a useful tool to analyze genes and their transcripts from a natural dinoflagellate population.