Mechanisms of increased Trichodesmium fitness under iron and phosphorus co-limitation in the present and future ocean

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Walworth, Nathan G.
Fu, Fei-Xue
Webb, Eric A.
Saito, Mak A.
Moran, Dawn M.
Mcllvin, Matthew R.
Lee, Michael D.
Hutchins, David A.
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Nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria supplies critical bioavailable nitrogen to marine ecosystems worldwide; however, field and lab data have demonstrated it to be limited by iron, phosphorus and/or CO2. To address unknown future interactions among these factors, we grew the nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium Trichodesmium for 1 year under Fe/P co-limitation following 7 years of both low and high CO2 selection. Fe/P co-limited cell lines demonstrated a complex cellular response including increased growth rates, broad proteome restructuring and cell size reductions relative to steady-state growth limited by either Fe or P alone. Fe/P co-limitation increased abundance of a protein containing a conserved domain previously implicated in cell size regulation, suggesting a similar role in Trichodesmium. Increased CO2 further induced nutrient-limited proteome shifts in widespread core metabolisms. Our results thus suggest that N2-fixing microbes may be significantly impacted by interactions between elevated CO2 and nutrient limitation, with broad implications for global biogeochemical cycles in the future ocean.
© The Author(s), 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Nature Communications 7 (2016): 12081, doi:10.1038/ncomms12081.
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Nature Communications 7 (2016): 12081
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