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Functional kleptoplasts intermediate incorporation of carbon and nitrogen in cells of the Sacoglossa sea slug Elysia viridis

Abstract : Some sacoglossan sea slugs incorporate intracellular functional algal chloroplasts, a process termed kleptoplasty. "Stolen" chloroplasts (kleptoplasts) can remain photosynthetically active up to several months, contributing to animal nutrition. Whether this contribution occurs by means of translocation of photosynthesis-derived metabolites from functional kleptoplasts to the animal host or by simple digestion of such organelles remains controversial. Imaging of C-13 and N-15 assimilation over a 12-h incubation period of Elysia viridis sea slugs showed a light-dependent incorporation of carbon and nitrogen, observed first in digestive tubules and followed by a rapid accumulation into chloroplast-free organs. Furthermore, this work revealed the presence of C-13-labeled long-chain fatty acids (FA) typical of marine invertebrates, such as arachidonic (20:4n-6) and adrenic (22:4n-6) acids. The time frame and level of C-13- and N-15-labeling in chloroplast-free organs indicate that photosynthesis-derived primary metabolites were made available to the host through functional kleptoplasts. The presence of specific C-13-labeled long-chain FA, absent from E. viridis algal food, indicates animal based-elongation using kleptoplast-derived FA precursors. Finally, carbon and nitrogen were incorporated in organs and tissues involved in reproductive functions (albumin gland and gonadal follicles), implying a putative role of kleptoplast photosynthesis in the reproductive fitness of the animal host.
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https://hal-mnhn.archives-ouvertes.fr/mnhn-02888478
Contributor : Cédric Hubas <>
Submitted on : Friday, March 12, 2021 - 4:57:16 PM
Last modification on : Monday, May 31, 2021 - 12:19:20 PM

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Sónia Cruz, Charlotte Lekieffre, Paulo Cartaxana, Cédric Hubas, Najet Thiney, et al.. Functional kleptoplasts intermediate incorporation of carbon and nitrogen in cells of the Sacoglossa sea slug Elysia viridis. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2020, 10 (1), ⟨10.1038/s41598-020-66909-7⟩. ⟨mnhn-02888478⟩

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