The oomycete Lagenisma coscinodisci hijacks host alkaloid synthesis during infection of a marine diatom
Flagellated oomycetes frequently infect unicellular algae, thus limiting their proliferation. Here we show that the marine oomycete Lagenisma coscinodisci rewires the metabolome of the bloom-forming diatom Coscinodiscus granii, thereby promoting infection success. The algal alkaloids β-carboline and 2,3,4,9-tetrahydro-1H-β-carboline-3-carboxylic acid are induced during infection. Single-cell profiling with AP-MALDI-MS and confocal laser scanning microscopy reveals that algal carbolines accumulate in the reproductive form of the parasite. The compounds arrest the algal cell division, increase the infection rate and induce plasmolysis in the host. Our results indicate that the oomycete manipulates the host metabolome to support its own multiplication.