Gregor Christa

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Sacoglossan sea slugs are unique in the animal kingdom in that they sequester and maintain active plastids that they acquire from the siphonaceous algae upon which they feed, making the animals photosynthetic. Although most sacoglossan species digest their freshly ingested plastids within hours, four species from the family Plakobranchidae retain their(More)
Several sacoglossan sea slugs (Plakobranchoidea) feed upon plastids of large unicellular algae. Four species--called long-term retention (LtR) species--are known to sequester ingested plastids within specialized cells of the digestive gland. There, the stolen plastids (kleptoplasts) remain photosynthetically active for several months, during which time LtR(More)
Sacoglossa is a rather small taxon of marine slugs with about 300 described species, yet it is quite fascinating scientists for decades. This is mainly because of the ability of certain species to incorporate photosynthetically active plastids of their algae prey, a phenomenon known as functional kleptoplasty. With the stolen plastids, these slugs endure(More)
The sacoglossan sea slug, Plakobranchus ocellatus, is a so-called long-term retention form that incorporates chloroplasts for several months and thus is able to starve while maintaining photosynthetic activity. Little is known regarding the taxonomy and food sources of this sacoglossan, but it is suggested that P. ocellatus is a species complex and feeds on(More)
Sacoglossan sea slugs are well known for their unique ability among metazoans to incorporate functional chloroplasts (kleptoplasty) in digestive glandular cells, enabling the slugs to use these as energy source when starved for weeks and months. However, members assigned to the shelled Oxynoacea and Limapontioidea (often with dorsal processes) are in(More)
Plastids sequestered by sacoglossan sea slugs have long been a puzzle. Some sacoglossans feed on siphonaceous algae and can retain the plastids in the cytosol of their digestive gland cells. There, the stolen plastids (kleptoplasts) can remain photosynthetically active in some cases for months. Kleptoplast longevity itself challenges current paradigms(More)
The only animal cells known that can maintain functional plastids (kleptoplasts) in their cytosol occur in the digestive gland epithelia of sacoglossan slugs. Only a few species of the many hundred known can profit from kleptoplasty during starvation long-term, but why is not understood. The two sister taxa Elysia cornigera and Elysia timida sequester(More)
Eukaryotic organelles depend on nuclear genes to perpetuate their biochemical integrity. This is true for mitochondria in all eukaryotes and plastids in plants and algae. Then how do kleptoplasts, plastids that are sequestered by some sacoglossan sea slugs, survive in the animals' digestive gland cells in the absence of the algal nucleus encoding the vast(More)
Sometimes the elementary experiment can lead to the most surprising result. This was recently the case when we had to learn that so-called "photosynthetic slugs" survive just fine in the dark and with chemically inhibited photosynthesis. Sacoglossan sea slugs feed on large siphonaceous, often single-celled algae by ingesting their cytosolic content(More)
Sacoglossa (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) are generally considered a monophyletic group, previously associated within the now defunct "Opisthobranchia", but now basally located within Panpulmonata. In the light of this new phylogenetic hypothesis, detailed knowledge of the most basal groups within Sacoglossa is of paramount importance. This study focuses on(More)