Features of metabolic regulation revealed by transcriptomic adaptions driven by long‐term elevated pCO2 in Chaetoceros muelleri

Ocean acidification caused by the rise of anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) is expected to influence many marine species, especially phytoplankton. Diatoms, a key group of phytoplankton, play vital roles in global carbon fixation and natural food webs. Currently, little is known about their adaptive responses to long‐term acidification. In this study, physiological and transcriptomic approaches were combined to explore the mechanisms by which Chaetoceros muelleri can endure long‐term acidification. Physiological changes were significantly affected by long‐term elevated partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) levels. Drastic changes in lipid content and composition were observed under both short‐ and long‐term high‐pCO2 stresses. Changes in the transcriptome revealed that a wide range of cellular and metabolic processes were differentially affected. A global upregulation of genes involved in the Calvin cycle, glycolysis, fatty acid synthesis and nitrogen metabolism occurred under long‐term acidification. Thus, C. muelleri may have evolved new features to adapt to the elevated pCO2 level. Calvin cycle and nitrogen metabolic mechanisms may play roles in new molecular strategies to survive increasingly acidified waters in the future.

Liang C., Zhang Y., Wang L., Shi L., Xu D., Zhang X. & Ye N., in press. Features of metabolic regulation revealed by transcriptomic adaptions driven by long‐term elevated pCO2 in Chaetoceros muelleri. Phycological Research. Article (subscription required).

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