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.
Blasticidin-S deaminase, a new selection marker for genetic transformation of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum
2018, Buck, Jochen Mario, Río Bártulos, Carolina, Gruber, Ansgar, Kroth, Peter G.
Most genetic transformation protocols for the model diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum rely on one of two available antibiotics as selection markers: Zeocin (a formulation of phleomycin D1) or nourseothricin. This limits the number of possible consecutive genetic transformations that can be performed. In order to expand the biotechnological possibilities for P. tricornutum, we searched for additional antibiotics and corresponding resistance genes that might be suitable for use with this diatom. Among the three different antibiotics tested in this study, blasticidin-S and tunicamycin turned out to be lethal to wild-type cells at low concentrations, while voriconazole had no detectable effect on P. tricornutum. Testing the respective resistance genes, we found that the blasticidin-S deaminase gene (bsr) effectively conferred resistance against blasticidin-S to P. tricornutum. Furthermore, we could show that expression of bsr did not lead to cross-resistances against Zeocin or nourseothricin, and that genetically transformed cell lines with resistance against Zeocin or nourseothricin were not resistant against blasticidin-S. In a proof of concept, we also successfully generated double resistant (against blasticidin-S and nourseothricin) P. tricornutum cell lines by co-delivering the bsr vector with a vector conferring nourseothricin resistance to wild-type cells.
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.
Rapid induction of GFP expression by the nitrate reductase promoter in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum
2016-08-25, Chu, Lili, Ewe, Daniela, Río Bártulos, Carolina, Kroth, Peter G., Gruber, Ansgar
An essential prerequisite for a controlled transgene expression is the choice of a suitable promoter. In the model diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum, the most commonly used promoters for trans-gene expression are the light dependent lhcf1 promoters (derived from two endogenous genes encoding fucoxanthin chlorophyll a/c binding proteins) and the nitrate dependent nr promoter (derived from the endogenous nitrate reductase gene). In this study, we investigated the time dependent expression of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter under control of the nitrate reductase promoter in independently genetically transformed P. tricornutum cell lines following induction of expression by change of the nitrogen source in the medium via flow cytometry, microscopy and western blotting. In all investigated cell lines, GFP fluorescence started to increase 1 h after change of the medium, the fastest increase rates were observed between 2 and 3 h. Fluorescence continued to increase slightly for up to 7 h even after transfer of the cells to ammonium medium. The subsequent decrease of GFP fluorescence was much slower than the increase, probably due to the stability of GFP. The investigation of several cell lines transformed with nr based constructs revealed that, also in the absence of nitrate, the promoter may show residual activity. Furthermore, we observed a strong variation of gene expression between independent cell lines, emphasising the importance of a thorough characterisation of genetically modified cell lines and their individual expression patterns.
The intracellular distribution of inorganic carbon fixing enzymes does not support the presence of a C4 pathway in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum
2018-08, Ewe, Daniela, Tachibana, Masaaki, Kikutani, Sae, Gruber, Ansgar, Río Bártulos, Carolina, Konert, Grzegorz, Kaplan, Aaron, Matsuda, Yusuke, Kroth, Peter G.
Diatoms are unicellular algae and important primary producers. The process of carbon fixation in diatoms is very efficient even though the availability of dissolved CO2 in sea water is very low. The operation of a carbon concentrating mechanism (CCM) also makes the more abundant bicarbonate accessible for photosynthetic carbon fixation. Diatoms possess carbonic anhydrases as well as metabolic enzymes potentially involved in C4 pathways; however, the question as to whether a C4 pathway plays a general role in diatoms is not yet solved. While genome analyses indicate that the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum possesses all the enzymes required to operate a C4 pathway, silencing of the pyruvate orthophosphate dikinase (PPDK) in a genetically transformed cell line does not lead to reduced photosynthetic carbon fixation. In this study, we have determined the intracellular location of all enzymes potentially involved in C4-like carbon fixing pathways in P. tricornutum by expression of the respective proteins fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP), followed by fluorescence microscopy. Furthermore, we compared the results to known pathways and locations of enzymes in higher plants performing C3 or C4 photosynthesis. This approach revealed that the intracellular distribution of the investigated enzymes is quite different from the one observed in higher plants. In particular, the apparent lack of a plastidic decarboxylase in P. tricornutum indicates that this diatom does not perform a C4-like CCM.
Aureochrome 1a is involved in the photoacclimation of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum
2013, Schellenberger Costa, Benjamin, Sachse, Matthias, Jungandreas, Anne, Río Bártulos, Carolina, Gruber, Ansgar, Jakob, Torsten, Kroth, Peter G., Wilhelm, Christian
Aureochromes constitute a family of blue light (BL) receptors which are found exclusively in heterokont algae such as diatoms (Bacillariophyceae) and yellow-green algae (Xanthophyceae). Previous studies on the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum indicate that the formation of a high light acclimated phenotype is mediated by the absorption of BL and that aureochromes might play an important role in this process. P. tricornutum possesses four genes encoding aureochromes. In this study we confirm the nuclear localisation of the PtAUREO1a, 1b and 2 proteins. Furthermore we studied the physiology of light quality acclimation in genetically transformed P. tricornutum cell lines with reduced expression of the aureochrome 1a gene. The results demonstrate that the AUREO1a protein has a distinct function in light acclimation. However, rather unexpectedly AUREO1a seems to repress high light acclimation which resulted in a state of "hyper" high light acclimation in aureo1a silenced strains. This was indicated by characteristic changes of several photosynthetic parameters, including increased maximum photosynthesis rates, decreased chlorophyll a contents per cell and increased values of non-photochemical quenching in AUREO1a silenced strains compared to wild type cultures. Strikingly, AUREO1a silenced strains exhibited phenotypic differences compared to wild type cells during cultivation under BL as well as under red light (RL) conditions. Therefore, AUREO1a might influence the RL signalling process, suggesting an interaction of AUREO1a with RL perception pathways.