Mary Rumpho


University of Connecticut
Department of Molecular & Cell Biology
91 North Eagleville Road, Unit 3125
Storrs, CT 06269-3125

Telephone: 860-486-6299
Fax: 860-486-4331


Education: PhD Washington State University

Research Interests: My research focuses on the unusual endosymbiotic association between algal (Vaucheria litorea) chloroplasts and a marine mollusc (Elysia chlorotica), resulting in photosynthetic sea slugs. My lab is conducting research to characterize the symbiont plastids and demonstrate horizontal gene transfer between the algal nucleus and the sea slug. In addition, we are exploring the possibility that the sea slug produces anti-cancer metabolites as an anti-predator defense mechanism.

Selected Publications:

Rumpho ME, JM Worful, J Lee, K Kannan, MS Tyler, D Bhattacharya, A Moustafa and JR Manhart 2008 Horizontal gene transfer of the algal nuclear gene psbO to the photosynthetic sea slug Elysia chlorotica. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105:17867-17871

Rumpho ME, FP Dastoor, JR Manhart and J Lee 2006 The Kleptoplast. In: Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration – The Structure and Function of Plastids. RR Wise and JK Hoober, eds, Springer Pub., Vol. 23, pp 451-473

Pennisi E 2006 Plant Wannabes. Science 313:1229

Green BJ, TC Fox, JR Manhart and ME Rumpho 2005 Stability of isolated chromophytic algal chloroplasts that participate in a unique molluscan/algal endosymbiosis. Symbiosis 40:31-40

Rumpho ME, EJ Summer, BJ Green, TC Fox and JR Manhart 2001 Mollusc/algal chloroplast symbiosis: How can isolated chloroplasts continue to function for months in the cytosol of a sea slug in the absence of an algal nucleus? Zoology 104:303-312

Rumpho ME and JR Manhart 2001 Elysia chlorotica and Vaucheria litorea: Symbiosis between a mollusc and algal plastids produces solar-powered sea slugs. ISS Symbiosis Inernational, Vol. 1, No. 2

Rumpho ME, JR Manhart and EJ Summer 2000 Solar-Powered Sea Slugs. Mollusc/algal chloroplast symbiosis. Plant Physiology 123:29-38

Green BJ, W-y Li, JR Manhart, TC Fox, EJ Summer, RA Kennedy, SK Pierce and ME Rumpho 2000 Mollusc-algal chloroplast endosymbiosis: photosynthesis, thylakoid protein maintenance, and chloroplast gene expression continue for many months in the absence of the algal nucleus. Plant Physiology 124:331-342

Nolte BA and ME Rumpho 2000 Rapid micro-assay of camptothecin in Camptotheca acuminata. Planta Medica 67: 376-378

Pierce SK, TK Maugel, ME Rumpho, JJ Hanten and WL Mondy 1999 Annual viral expression in a sea slug population: Life cycle control and symbiotic chloroplast maintenance. Biological Bulletin 197:1-6

Mujer CV, DL Andrews, JR Manhart, SK Pierce and ME Rumpho 1996 Chloroplast genes are expressed during intracellular symbiotic association of Vaucheria litorea plastids with the sea slug Elysia chlorotica. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 93:12333-12338

Pierce SK, RW Biron and ME Rumpho 1996 Endosymbiotic chloroplasts in molluscan cells contain proteins synthesized after plastid capture. Journal of Experimental Biology 199:2323-2330

Rumpho ME, CV Mujer, DL Andrews, JR Manhart and SK Pierce 1994 Extraction of DNA from mucilaginous tissues of a sea slug (Elysia chlorotica). BioTechniques 17:1097-1101

D’Appollonio J, LB Stack, M Rumpho and D Zhang 2006 Is burningbush invading your woodlot? SWOAM News. Vol 31 No 8, pp 10-11