Fixation and fate of C and N in the cyanobacterium Trichodesmium using nanometer-scale secondary ion mass spectrometry




Finzi-Hart, Juliette A
Pett-Ridge, Jennifer
Weber, Peter K.
Popa, Radu
Fallon, Stewart
Gunderson, Troy
Hutcheon, Ian D
Nealson, Kenneth H
Capone, Douglas G

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National Academy of Sciences (USA)


The marine cyanobacterium Trichodesmium is ubiquitous in tropical and subtropical seas and is an important contributor to global N and C cycling. We sought to characterize metabolic uptake patterns in individual Trichodesmium IMS-101 cells by quantitatively imaging13C and15N uptake with high-resolution secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS). Trichodesmium fix both CO2 and N2 concurrently during the day and are, thus, faced with a balancing act: the O2 evolved during photosynthesis inhibits nitrogenase, the key enzyme in N2 fixation. After performing correlated transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and NanoSIMS analysis on trichome thin-sections, we observed transient inclusion of15N and13C into discrete subcellular bodies identified as cyanophycin granules. We speculate that Trichodesmium uses these dynamic storage bodies to uncouple CO2 and N2 fixation from overall growth dynamics. We also directly quantified both CO2 and N2 fixation at the single cell level using NanoSIMS imaging of whole cells in multiple trichomes. Our results indicate maximal CO2 fixation rates in the morning, compared with maximal N2 fixation rates in the afternoon, bolstering the argument that segregation of CO2 and N2 fixation in Trichodesmium is regulated in part by temporal factors. Spatial separation of N2 and CO2 fixation may also have a role in metabolic segregation in Trichodesmium. Our approach in combining stable isotope labeling with NanoSIMS and TEM imaging can be extended to other physiologically relevant elements and processes in other important microbial systems.



Keywords: carbon; carbon dioxide; cyanophycin; element; isotope; nitrogen; nitrogenase; oxygen; nanomaterial; animal cell; article; bacterial cell; carbon fixation; carbon nuclear magnetic resonance; cellular distribution; comparative study; controlled study; Cyano Cyanophycin; NanoSIMS; Stable isotope labeling



PNAS - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


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