The influence of pCO2 and temperature on gene expression of carbon and nitrogen pathways in Trichodesmium IMS101

Growth, protein amount, and activity levels of metabolic pathways in Trichodesmium are influenced by environmental changes such as elevated pCO2 and temperature. This study examines changes in the expression of essential metabolic genes in Trichodesmium grown under a matrix of pCO2 (400 and 900 µatm) and temperature (25 and 31°C). Using RT-qPCR, we studied 21 genes related to four metabolic functional groups: CO2 concentrating mechanism (bicA1, bicA2, ccmM, ccmK2, ccmK3, ndhF4, ndhD4, ndhL, chpX), energy metabolism (atpB, sod, prx, glcD), nitrogen metabolism (glnA, hetR, nifH), and inorganic carbon fixation and photosynthesis (rbcL, rca, psaB, psaC, psbA). nifH and most photosynthetic genes exhibited relatively high abundance and their expression was influenced by both environmental parameters. A two to three orders of magnitude increase was observed for glnA and hetR only when both pCO2 and temperature were elevated. CO2 concentrating mechanism genes were not affected by pCO2 and temperature and their expression levels were markedly lower than that of the nitrogen metabolism and photosynthetic genes. Many of the CO2 concentrating mechanism genes were co-expressed throughout the day. Our results demonstrate that in Trichodesmium, CO2 concentrating mechanism genes are constitutively expressed. Co-expression of genes from different functional groups were frequently observed during the first half of the photoperiod when oxygenic photosynthesis and N2 fixation take place, pointing at the tight and complex regulation of gene expression in Trichodesmium. Here we provide new data linking environmental changes of pCO2 and temperature to gene expression in Trichodesmium. Although gene expression indicates an active metabolic pathway, there is often an uncoupling between transcription and enzyme activity, such that transcript level cannot usually be directly extrapolated to metabolic activity.

Levitan, O., Sudhaus, S., LaRoche, J., Berman-Frank, I., 2010. The influence of pCO2 and temperature on gene expression of carbon and nitrogen pathways in Trichodesmium IMS101. PLoS ONE 5(12): e15104. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015104. Article.

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