Gruber, Ansgar

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Mitochondrial phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase contributes to carbon fixation in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum at low inorganic carbon concentrations

2022-08, Yu, Guilan, Nakajima, Kensuke, Gruber, Ansgar, Río Bártulos, Carolina, Schober, Alexander, Lepetit, Bernard, Yohannes, Elizabeth, Matsuda, Yusuke, Kroth, Peter G.

Photosynthetic carbon fixation is often limited by CO2 availability, which led to the evolution of CO2 concentrating mechanisms (CCMs). Some diatoms possess CCMs that employ biochemical fixation of bicarbonate, similar to C4 plants, but it is controversially discussed whether biochemical CCMs are a commonly found in diatoms.
In the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum, Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxylase (PEPC) is present in two isoforms, PEPC1 in the plastids and PEPC2 in the mitochondria. We used real-time quantitative PCR, western blots, and enzymatic assays to examine PEPC expression and PEPC activities, under low and high concentrations of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC).
We generated and analyzed individual knockout cell lines of PEPC1 and PEPC2, as well as a PEPC1/2 double-knockout strain. While we could not detect an altered phenotype in the PEPC1 knockout strains at ambient, low or high DIC concentrations, PEPC2 and the double-knockout strains grown under ambient air or lower DIC availability, showed reduced growth and photosynthetic affinity to DIC, while behaving similarly as WT cells at high DIC concentrations. These mutants furthermore exhibited significantly lower 13C/12C ratios compared to WT.
Our data implies that in P. tricornutum at least parts of the CCM relies on biochemical bicarbonate fixation catalyzed by the mitochondrial PEPC2.


Organelle Studies and Proteome Analyses on Mitochondria and Plastids Fractions from the Diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana

2019-08-01, Schober, Alexander, Río Bártulos, Carolina, Bischoff, Annsophie, Lepetit, Bernard, Gruber, Ansgar, Kroth, Peter G.

Diatoms are unicellular algae and evolved by secondary endosymbiosis, a process in which a red alga-like eukaryote was engulfed by a heterotrophic eukaryotic cell. This gave rise to plastids of remarkable complex architecture and ultrastructure that require elaborate protein importing, trafficking, signaling and intracellular cross-talk pathways. Studying both plastids and mitochondria and their distinctive physiological pathways in organello may greatly contribute to our understanding of photosynthesis, mitochondrial respiration, and diatom evolution. The isolation of such complex organelles, however, is still demanding, and existing protocols are either limited to a few species (for plastids) or have not been reported for diatoms so far (for mitochondria). In this work, we present the first isolation protocol for mitochondria from the model diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana. Apart from that, we extended the protocol so that it is also applicable for the purification of a high-quality plastids fraction, and provide detailed structural and physiological characterizations of the resulting organelles. Isolated mitochondria were structurally intact, showed clear evidence of mitochondrial respiration, but the fractions still contained residual cell fragments. In contrast, plastid isolates were virtually free of cellular contaminants, featured structurally preserved thylakoids performing electron transport, but lost most of their stromal components as concluded from western blots and mass spectrometry. LC-ESI-MS/MS studies on mitochondria and thylakoids, moreover, allowed detailed proteome analyses which resulted in extensive proteome maps for both plastids and mitochondria thus helping us to broaden our understanding of organelle metabolism and functionality in diatoms.