Diatoms are photosynthetic microorganisms of great ecological and biogeochemical importance, forming vast blooms in aquatic ecosystems. However, we are still lacking fundamental understanding of how individual cells sense and respond to diverse stress conditions, and what acclimation strategies are employed during bloom dynamics. We investigated cellular responses to environmental stress at the single-cell level using the roGFP sensor targeted to various organelles in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. We detected cell-to-cell variability using flow cytometry cell sorting and a microfluidics system for live imaging of roGFP oxidation dynamics. Chloroplast-targeted roGFP exhibited a light-dependent, bi-stable oxidation pattern in response to H2O2 and high light, revealing distinct subpopulations of sensitive oxidized cells and resilient reduced cells. Early oxidation in the chloroplast preceded commitment to cell death, and can be used for sensing stress cues and regulating cell fate. We propose that light-dependent metabolic heterogeneity regulates diatoms' sensitivity to environmental stressors in the ocean.
- Assaf Vardi
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Dianne K Newman, California Institute of Technology, United States
- Received: April 16, 2019
- Accepted: June 18, 2019
- Accepted Manuscript published: June 24, 2019 (version 1)
© 2019, Mizrachi et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.