Impact of irradiance on the C allocation in the coastal marine diatom Skeletonema marinoi Sarno and Zingone

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Journal Article
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Plant, Cell and Environment, 2011, 34 (10), pp. 1666 - 1677
Issue Date:
2011-10-01
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Elemental stoichiometry and organic composition were investigated in an Adriatic strain of Skeletonema marinoi, cultured at 25 [low light (LL)] and 250 [high light (HL)]μmol photon m-2s-1. Inorganic carbon acquisition, fixation and allocation, and silicic acid and orthophosphate uptake were also studied. The C:P ratio was below the Redfield ratio, especially at LL. In HL cells, N quota was halved, C quota was similar, silica quota was lower, growth rate and long-term net primary productivity were almost doubled, relative to LL cells. The HL:LL cell quota ratios were 6 for lipid, 0.5 for protein and 0.4 for carbohydrate. Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPc) and glutamine synthetase (GS) activities were unaffected by the growth irradiance; phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPck) was 2.5-fold more active in LL cells. This suggests that in S. marinoi, C4photosynthesis is unlikely, PEPc is anaplerotic and PEPck may be involved in the conversion of lipid C to carbohydrates, especially in LL cells. Because about 50% of the cost for the production of an HL cell is caused by lipid biosynthesis, we propose that the preferential allocation of C to lipid at HL takes advantage of the relatively high volume-based energy content of lipids, in an organism that reduces its size at each vegetative cell division. In S. marinoi, lipids appear to serve as an energy sink when more photons are available, so that a cell grown at 250 mmol photon m-2s-1costs twice as much as a cell grown at 25 mmol photon m-2s-1grown cell, even though its volume is 30 % smaller. The preferential allocation of C to lipid at higher light takes advantage of the relatively high volume-based energy content of lipids, in an organism that reduces its size at each vegetative cell division. Under the growth conditions used for this study, silicification is lower at higher light and seems to be coupled to the accumulation of lipids in bringing about a decreased cell density. PEPck may be involved in the conversion of lipid C to carbohydrates at low light. Neither of the β-carboxylases appears to be photosynthetic, and PEPc is most probably anaplerotic. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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