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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.
  • Article
    Tight regulation of extracellular superoxide points to its vital role in the physiology of the globally relevant Roseobacter clade.
    (American Society for Microbiology, 2019-03-12) Hansel, Colleen M. ; Diaz, Julia M. ; Plummer, Sydney
    There is a growing appreciation within animal and plant physiology that the reactive oxygen species (ROS) superoxide is not only detrimental but also essential for life. Yet, despite widespread production of extracellular superoxide by healthy bacteria and phytoplankton, this molecule remains associated with stress and death. Here, we quantify extracellular superoxide production by seven ecologically diverse bacteria within the Roseobacter clade and specifically target the link between extracellular superoxide and physiology for two species. We reveal for all species a strong inverse relationship between cell-normalized superoxide production rates and cell number. For exponentially growing cells of Ruegeria pomeroyi DSS-3 and Roseobacter sp. strain AzwK-3b, we show that superoxide levels are regulated in response to cell density through rapid modulation of gross production and not decay. Over a life cycle of batch cultures, extracellular superoxide levels are tightly regulated through a balance of both production and decay processes allowing for nearly constant levels of superoxide during active growth and minimal levels upon entering stationary phase. Further, removal of superoxide through the addition of exogenous superoxide dismutase during growth leads to significant growth inhibition. Overall, these results point to tight regulation of extracellular superoxide in representative members of the Roseobacter clade, consistent with a role for superoxide in growth regulation as widely acknowledged in fungal, animal, and plant physiology.
  • Article
    Extracellular superoxide production by key microbes in the global ocean
    (Wiley, 2019-07-10) Sutherland, Kevin M. ; Coe, Allison ; Gast, Rebecca J. ; Plummer, Sydney ; Suffridge, Christopher ; Diaz, Julia M. ; Bowman, Jeff S. ; Wankel, Scott D. ; Hansel, Colleen M.
    Bacteria and eukaryotes produce the reactive oxygen species superoxide both within and outside the cell. Although superoxide is typically associated with the detrimental and sometimes fatal effects of oxidative stress, it has also been shown to be involved in a range of essential biochemical processes, including cell signaling, growth, differentiation, and defense. Light‐independent extracellular superoxide production has been shown to be widespread among many marine heterotrophs and phytoplankton, but the extent to which this trait is relevant to marine microbial physiology and ecology throughout the global ocean is unknown. Here, we investigate the dark extracellular superoxide production of five groups of organisms that are geographically widespread and represent some of the most abundant organisms in the global ocean. These include Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus, Pelagibacter, Phaeocystis, and Geminigera. Cell‐normalized net extracellular superoxide production rates ranged seven orders of magnitude, from undetectable to 14,830 amol cell−1 h−1, with the cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus being the lowest producer and the cryptophyte Geminigera being the most prolific producer. Extracellular superoxide production exhibited a strong inverse relationship with cell number, pointing to a potential role in cell signaling. We demonstrate that rapid, cell‐number–dependent changes in the net superoxide production rate by Synechococcus and Pelagibacter arose primarily from changes in gross production of extracellular superoxide, not decay. These results expand the relevance of dark extracellular superoxide production to key marine microbes of the global ocean, suggesting that superoxide production in marine waters is regulated by a diverse suite of marine organisms in both dark and sunlit waters.
  • Article
    NADPH-dependent extracellular superoxide production is vital to photophysiology in the marine diatom Thalassiosira oceanica
    (National Academy of Sciences, 2019-08-13) Diaz, Julia M. ; Plummer, Sydney ; Hansel, Colleen M. ; Andeer, Peter F. ; Saito, Mak A. ; McIlvin, Matthew R.
    Reactive oxygen species (ROS) like superoxide drive rapid transformations of carbon and metals in aquatic systems and play dynamic roles in biological health, signaling, and defense across a diversity of cell types. In phytoplankton, however, the ecophysiological role(s) of extracellular superoxide production has remained elusive. Here, the mechanism and function of extracellular superoxide production by the marine diatom Thalassiosira oceanica are described. Extracellular superoxide production in T. oceanica exudates was coupled to the oxidation of NADPH. A putative NADPH-oxidizing flavoenzyme with predicted transmembrane domains and high sequence similarity to glutathione reductase (GR) was implicated in this process. GR was also linked to extracellular superoxide production by whole cells via quenching by the flavoenzyme inhibitor diphenylene iodonium (DPI) and oxidized glutathione, the preferred electron acceptor of GR. Extracellular superoxide production followed a typical photosynthesis-irradiance curve and increased by 30% above the saturation irradiance of photosynthesis, while DPI significantly impaired the efficiency of photosystem II under a wide range of light levels. Together, these results suggest that extracellular superoxide production is a byproduct of a transplasma membrane electron transport system that serves to balance the cellular redox state through the recycling of photosynthetic NADPH. This photoprotective function may be widespread, consistent with the presence of putative homologs to T. oceanica GR in other representative marine phytoplankton and ocean metagenomes. Given predicted climate-driven shifts in global surface ocean light regimes and phytoplankton community-level photoacclimation, these results provide implications for future ocean redox balance, ecological functioning, and coupled biogeochemical transformations of carbon and metals.
  • Article
    Spatial heterogeneity in particle-associated, light-independent superoxide production within productive coastal waters
    (American Geophysical Union, 2020-10-06) Sutherland, Kevin M. ; Grabb, Kalina C. ; Karolewski, Jennifer S. ; Plummer, Sydney ; Farfan, Gabriela A. ; Wankel, Scott D. ; Diaz, Julia M. ; Lamborg, Carl H. ; Hansel, Colleen M.
    In the marine environment, the reactive oxygen species (ROS) superoxide is produced through a diverse array of light‐dependent and light‐independent reactions, the latter of which is thought to be primarily controlled by microorganisms. Marine superoxide production influences organic matter remineralization, metal redox cycling, and dissolved oxygen concentrations, yet the relative contributions of different sources to total superoxide production remain poorly constrained. Here we investigate the production, steady‐state concentration, and particle‐associated nature of light‐independent superoxide in productive waters off the northeast coast of North America. We find exceptionally high levels of light‐independent superoxide in the marine water column, with concentrations ranging from 10 pM to in excess of 2,000 pM. The highest superoxide concentrations were particle associated in surface seawater and in aphotic seawater collected meters off the seafloor. Filtration of seawater overlying the continental shelf lowered the light‐independent, steady‐state superoxide concentration by an average of 84%. We identify eukaryotic phytoplankton as the dominant particle‐associated source of superoxide to these coastal waters. We contrast these measurements with those collected at an off‐shelf station, where superoxide concentrations did not exceed 100 pM, and particles account for an average of 40% of the steady‐state superoxide concentration. This study demonstrates the primary role of particles in the production of superoxide in seawater overlying the continental shelf and highlights the importance of light‐independent, dissolved‐phase reactions in marine ROS production.