Molecular adaptations to phosphorus deprivation and comparison with nitrogen deprivation responses in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPLoS ONE. 2018, 13 (2), . 10.1371/journal.pone.0193335
Phosphorus, an essential element for all living organisms, is a limiting nutrient in many regions of the ocean due to its fast recycling. Changes in phosphate (Pi) availability in aquatic systems affect diatom growth and productivity. We investigated the early adaptive mechanisms in the marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum to P deprivation using a combination of transcriptomics, metabolomics, physiological and biochemical experiments. Our analysis revealed strong induction of gene expression for proteins involved in phosphate acquisition and scavenging, and down-regulation of processes such as photosynthesis, nitrogen assimilation and nucleic acid and ribosome biosynthesis. P deprivation resulted in alterations of carbon allocation through the induction of the pentose phosphate pathway and cytosolic gluconeogenesis, along with repression of the Calvin cycle. Reorganization of cellular lipids was indicated by coordinated induced expression of phospholipases, sulfolipid biosynthesis enzymes and a putative betaine lipid biosynthesis enzyme. A comparative analysis of nitrogen- and phosphorus-deprived P. tricornutum revealed both common and distinct regulation patterns in response to phosphate and nitrate stress. Regulation of central carbon metabolism and amino acid metabolism was similar, whereas unique responses were found in nitrogen assimilation and phosphorus scavenging in nitrogen-deprived and phosphorus-deprived cells, respectively.