Metabolic acclimation to excess light intensity in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Maria C. Davis, Oliver Fiehn, Dion G. Durnford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In an effort to understand the role of metabolism in photoacclimation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, we used NMR and GC-MS to assess changes in the aqueous metabolome following a shift to excess light. Amino acid pool sizes increased significantly in response to high light along with pathways downstream of photorespiration. Our results suggest metabolism is pliable, has a critical role in coping with the energetic imbalance during excess light exposure, and a necessary adjustment to support an increased growth rate that is an effective energy sink for the excess reducing power generated during light stress. There are several well-described acclimation responses to excess light in green algae but the effect on metabolism has not been thoroughly investigated. This study examines the metabolic changes during photoacclimation to high-light (HL) stress in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii using nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry. Using principal component analysis, a clear metabolic response to HL intensity was observed on global metabolite pools, with major changes in the levels of amino acids and related nitrogen metabolites. Amino acid pools increased during short-term photoacclimation, but were especially prominent in HL-acclimated cultures. Unexpectedly, we observed an increase in mitochondrial metabolism through downstream photorespiratory pathways. The expression of two genes encoding key enzymes in the photorespiratory pathway, glycolate dehydrogenase and malate synthase, were highly responsive to the HL stress. We propose that this pathway contributes to metabolite pools involved in nitrogen assimilation and may play a direct role in photoacclimation. Our results suggest that primary and secondary metabolism is highly pliable and plays a critical role in coping with the energetic imbalance during HL exposure and a necessary adjustment to support an increased growth rate that is an effective energy sink for the excess reducing power generated during HL stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1391-1405
Number of pages15
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Volume36
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2013

Fingerprint

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
Acclimatization
light intensity
acclimation
Light
metabolism
glycolic acid
metabolites
Amino Acids
amino acids
Nitrogen
Malate Synthase
malate synthase
Secondary Metabolism
Methyl Green
metabolome
Chlorophyta
metabolic studies
Metabolome
photorespiration

Keywords

  • Light stress
  • Metabolomics
  • Photoacclimation
  • Photorespiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Physiology

Cite this

Metabolic acclimation to excess light intensity in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. / Davis, Maria C.; Fiehn, Oliver; Durnford, Dion G.

In: Plant, Cell and Environment, Vol. 36, No. 7, 07.2013, p. 1391-1405.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Davis, Maria C. ; Fiehn, Oliver ; Durnford, Dion G. / Metabolic acclimation to excess light intensity in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. In: Plant, Cell and Environment. 2013 ; Vol. 36, No. 7. pp. 1391-1405.
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