Clade-specific quantitative analysis of photosynthetic gene expression in prochlorococcus

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© 2015 Fernández-Pinos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Newly designed primers targeting rbcL (CO < inf > 2 < /inf > fixation), psbA (photosystem II) and rnpB (reference) genes were used in qRT-PCR assays to assess the photosynthetic capability of natural communities of Prochlorococcus, the most abundant photosynthetic organism on Earth and a major contributor to primary production in oligotrophic oceans. After optimizing sample collection methodology, we analyzed a total of 62 stations from the Malaspina 2010 circumnavigation (including Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans) at three different depths. Sequence and quantitative analyses of the corresponding amplicons showed the presence of high-light (HL) and low-light (LL) Prochlorococcus clades in essentially all 182 samples, with a largely uniform stratification of LL and HL sequences. Synech ococcus cross-amplifications were detected by the taxon-specific melting temperatures of the amplicons. Laboratory exposure of Prochlorococcus MED4 (HL) and MIT9313 (LL) strains to organic pollutants (PAHs and organochlorine compounds) showed a decrease of rbcL transcript abundances, and of the rbcL to psbA ratios for both strains. We propose this technique as a convenient assay to evaluate effects of environmental stressors, including pollution, on the oceanic Prochlorococcus photosynthetic function.




Fernández-Pinos, M. C., Casado, M., Caballero, G., Zinser, E. R., Dachs, J., & Piña, B. (2015). Clade-specific quantitative analysis of photosynthetic gene expression in prochlorococcus. PLoS ONE, 10(8).

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