Insights into the Regulation of DMSP Synthesis in the Diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana through APR Activity, Proteomics and Gene Expression Analyses on Cells Acclimating to Changes in Salinity, Light and Nitrogen.
Despite the importance of dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) in the global sulphur cycle and climate regulation, the biological pathways underpinning its synthesis in marine phytoplankton remain poorly understood. The intracellular concentration of DMSP increases with increased salinity, increased light intensity and nitrogen starvation in the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana. We used these conditions to investigate DMSP synthesis at the cellular level via analysis of enzyme activity, gene expression and proteome comparison. The activity of the key sulphur assimilatory enzyme, adenosine 5′-phosphosulphate reductase was not coordinated with increasing intracellular DMSP concentration. Under all three treatments coordination in the expression of sulphur assimilation genes was limited to increases in sulphite reductase transcripts. Similarly, proteomic 2D gel analysis only revealed an increase in phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase following increases in DMSP concentration. Our findings suggest that increased sulphur assimilation might not be required for increased DMSP synthesis, instead the availability of carbon and nitrogen substrates may be important in the regulation of this pathway. This contrasts with the regulation of sulphur metabolism in higher plants, which generally involves up-regulation of several sulphur assimilatory enzymes. In T. pseudonana changes relating to sulphur metabolism were specific to the individual treatments and, given that little coordination was seen in transcript and protein responses across the three growth conditions, different patterns of regulation might be responsible for the increase in DMSP concentration seen under each treatment.