News Details
25 May 2016

ESRs Lucilla Taddei and Giulio Stella are published in the Journal of Experimental Botany

Multisignal control of expression of the LHCX protein family in the marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum

Diatoms are phytoplanktonic organisms that grow successfully in the ocean where light conditions are highly variable. Studies of the molecular mechanisms of light acclimation in the marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum show that carotenoid de-epoxidation enzymes and LHCX1, a member of the light-harvesting protein family, both contribute to dissipate excess light energy through non-photochemical quenching (NPQ). In this study, we investigate the role of the other members of the LHCX family in diatom stress responses. Our analysis of available genomic data shows that the presence of multiple LHCX genes is a conserved feature of diatom species living in different ecological niches. Moreover, an analysis of the levels of four P. tricornutum LHCX transcripts in relation to protein expression and photosynthetic activity indicates that LHCXs are differentially regulated under different light intensities and nutrient starvation, mostly modulating NPQ capacity. We conclude that multiple abiotic stress signals converge to regulate the LHCX content of cells, providing a way to fine-tune light harvesting and photoprotection. Moreover, our data indicate that the expansion of the LHCX gene family reflects functional diversification of its members which could benefit cells responding to highly variable ocean environments.

Taddei, Lucilla, Giulio Rocco Stella, Alessandra Rogato, Benjamin Bailleul, Antonio Emidio Fortunato, Rossella Annunziata, Remo Sanges et al. "Multisignal control of expression of the LHCX protein family in the marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum." Journal of experimental botany (2016): erw198.

Author: Fiona Moejes


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