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Marine Synechococcus Picocyanobacteria: Light Utilization Across Latitudes

Abstract : The most ubiquitous cyanobacteria, Synechococcus, have colonized different marine thermal niches through the evolutionary specialization of lineages adapted to different ranges of temperature seawater. We used the strains of Synechococcus temperature ecotypes to study how light utilization has evolved in the function of temperature. The tropical Synechococcus (clade II) was unable to grow under 16 °C but, at temperatures >25 °C, induced very high growth rates that relied on a strong synthesis of the components of the photosynthetic machinery, leading to a large increase in photosystem cross-section and electron flux. By contrast, the Synechococcus adapted to subpolar habitats (clade I) grew more slowly but was able to cope with temperatures <10 °C. We show that growth at such temperatures was accompanied by a large increase of the photoprotection capacities using the orange carotenoid protein (OCP). Metagenomic analyzes revealed that Synechococcus natural communities show the highest prevalence of the ocp genes in low-temperature niches, whereas most tropical clade II Synechococcus have lost the gene. Moreover, bioinformatic analyzes suggested that the OCP variants of the two cold-adapted Synechococcus clades I and IV have undergone evolutionary convergence through the adaptation of the molecular flexibility. Our study points to an important role of temperature in the evolution of the OCP. We, furthermore, discuss the implications of the different metabolic cost of these physiological strategies on the competitiveness of Synechococcus in a warming ocean. This study can help improve the current hypotheses and models aimed at predicting the changes in ocean carbon fluxes in response to global warming.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 30, 2021 - 4:21:00 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 1, 2021 - 3:37:52 AM

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Christophe Six, Morgane Ratin, Dominique Marie, Erwan Corre. Marine Synechococcus Picocyanobacteria: Light Utilization Across Latitudes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , National Academy of Sciences, 2021, 118 (38), pp.e2111300118. ⟨10.1073/pnas.2111300118⟩. ⟨hal-03360215⟩

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