Taylor Alexander E.

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Alexander E.

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  • Article
    Dynamic regulation of extracellular superoxide production by the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi (CCMP 374)
    (Frontiers Media, 2019-07-12) Plummer, Sydney ; Taylor, Alexander E. ; Harvey, Elizabeth L. ; Hansel, Colleen M. ; Diaz, Julia M.
    In marine waters, ubiquitous reactive oxygen species (ROS) drive biogeochemical cycling of metals and carbon. Marine phytoplankton produce the ROS superoxide (O2−) extracellularly and can be a dominant source of O2− in natural aquatic systems. However, the cellular regulation, biological functioning, and broader ecological impacts of extracellular O2− production by marine phytoplankton remain mysterious. Here, we explored the regulation and potential roles of extracellular O2− production by a noncalcifying strain of the cosmopolitan coccolithophorid Emiliania huxleyi, a key species of marine phytoplankton that has not been examined for extracellular O2− production previously. Cell-normalized extracellular O2− production was the highest under presumably low-stress conditions during active proliferation and inversely related to cell density during exponential growth phase. Removal of extracellular O2− through addition of the O2− scavenger superoxide dismutase (SOD), however, increased growth rates, growth yields, cell biovolume, and photosynthetic efficiency (Fv/Fm) indicating an overall physiological improvement. Thus, the presence of extracellular O2− does not directly stimulate E. huxleyi proliferation, as previously suggested for other phytoplankton, bacteria, fungi, and protists. Extracellular O2− production decreased in the dark, suggesting a connection with photosynthetic processes. Taken together, the tight regulation of this stress independent production of extracellular O2− by E. huxleyi suggests that it could be involved in fundamental photophysiological processes.