Transcriptomic reprogramming of the oceanic diatom Skeletonema dohrnii under warming ocean and acidification

Under ocean warming and acidification, diatoms use a unique acclimation and adaptation strategy by saving energy and utilizing it for other cellular processes. However, the molecular mechanisms that underlie this reprogramming of energy utilization are currently unknown. Here, we investigate the metabolic reprogramming of the ecologically important diatom Skeletonema dohrnii grown under two different temperature (21 °C and 25 °C) and pCO2 (400 ppm and 1000 ppm) levels, utilizing global transcriptomic analysis. We find that evolutionary changes in the baseline gene expression, which we termed transcriptional up and downregulation, is the primary mechanism used by diatoms to acclimate to the combined conditions of ocean warming and acidification. This transcriptional regulation shows that under higher temperature and pCO2 conditions, photosynthesis, electron transport, and carboxylation were modified with increasing abundances of genes encoding ATP, NADPH, and carbon gaining for the carbon‐dioxide‐concentrating mechanisms (CCMs). Our results also indicate that changes in the transcriptional regulation of CCMs led to a decrease in the metabolic cost to save energy by promoting amino acid synthesis and nitrogen assimilation for the active protein processing machinery to adapt to warming and ocean acidification. This study generated unique metabolic insights into diatoms and suggests that future climate change conditions will cause evolutionary changes in oceanic diatoms that will facilitate their acclimation strategy.

Thangaraj S. & Sun J., in press. Transcriptomic reprogramming of the oceanic diatom Skeletonema dohrnii under warming ocean and acidification. Environmental Microbiology. Article (subscription required).

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