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Title: Acclimation to Iron Limitation in the Haptophyte Coccolithus pelagicus: A Molecular Investigation
Author(s): Moffat, Christopher
Supervisor(s): Wyman, Michael
Keywords: Coccolithus pelagicus
iron limitation
Issue Date: Dec-2008
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Phytoplankton growth is iron limited in at least 20% of the world’s oceans. Iron is an important nutrient required to synthesise enzymes necessary for photosynthesis, respiration, and nitrogen assimilation. Due to its low solubility in seawater, iron limitation of phytoplankton production has been the focus of much recent research. These organisms secrete ligands in order to solubilise the available iron, but not all of the iron dissolved in seawater is biologically available. In this study a molecular based approach was employed to investigate the acclimation of the marine haptophyte Coccolithus pelagicus to iron limitation. Using two dimensional electrophoresis, subtractive cDNA hybridisation, and RT real time PCR, changes in the proteome and in gene expression were examined. Iron limited cells were characterised by slower specific growth rates, lower chlorophyll a concentrations per unit biomass and less extensive calcification relative to iron replete cells. Addition of iron to iron limited cultures resulted in increased specific growth rates and increased chlorophyll a concentration per unit biomass. A subtracted cDNA library revealed seventeen identifiable sequences of which photosystem I protein E (PsaE), a fucoxanthin binding protein transcript, two chlorophyll binding proteins and a predicted membrane protein were shown to be up-regulated in iron-limited cells to varying extents. Two dimensional SDS PAGE revealed 11 differentially expressed proteins in iron limited cells and 1 highly expressed protein exclusive to iron replete cells. The potential utility of each of these as biomarkers of iron-limitation/iron sufficiency for natural populations of coccolithophorids like Coccolithus pelagicus is discussed.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Natural Sciences
Biological and Environmental Sciences

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