Phosphorus supply drives rapid turnover of membrane phospholipids in the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana
Van Mooy, Benjamin A. S.
Dyhrman, Sonya T.
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KeywordBetaine lipids; DGCC; Lipid substitution; Non-phosphorus lipids; Phosphatidylcholine; Diatoms
In low phosphorus (P) marine systems phytoplankton replace membrane phospholipids with non-phosphorus lipids, but it is not known how rapidly this substitution occurs. Here, when cells of the model diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana were transferred from P-replete medium to P-free medium, the phospholipid content of the cells rapidly declined within 48 h from 45±0.9% to 21±4.5% of total membrane lipids; the difference was made up by non-phosphorus lipids. Conversely, when P-limited T. pseudonana were resupplied with P, cells reduced the percentage of their total membrane lipid contributed by a non-phosphorus lipid from 43±1.5% to 7.3±0.9% within 24 h, while the contribution by phospholipids rose from 2.2±0.1% to 44±3%. This dynamic phospholipid reservoir contained sufficient P to synthesize multiple haploid genomes, suggesting that phospholipid turnover could be an important P source for cells. Field observations of phytoplankton lipid content may thus reflect short-term changes in P supply and cellular physiology, rather than simply long-term adjustment to the environment.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2010. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Nature Publishing Group for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in The ISME Journal 5 (2011): 1057–1060, doi:10.1038/ismej.2010.192.
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