Thermoacclimation and genome adaptation of the membrane lipidome in marine Synechococcus

Abstract : The marine cyanobacteria of the genus Synechococcus are important primary producers, displaying a wide latitudinal distribution that is underpinned by diversification into temperature ecotypes. The physiological basis underlying these ecotypes is poorly known. In many organisms, regulation of membrane fluidity is crucial for acclimating to variations in temperature. Here, we reveal the detailed composition of the membrane lipidome of the model strain Synechococcus sp. WH7803 and its response to temperature variation. Unlike freshwater strains, membranes are almost devoid of C18, mainly containing C14 and C16 chains with no more than two unsaturations. In response to cold, we observed a rarely observed process of acyl chain shortening that likely induces membrane thinning, along with specific desaturation activities. Both of these mechanisms likely regulate membrane fluidity, facilitating the maintenance of efficient photosynthetic activity. A comprehensive examination of 53 Synechococcus genomes revealed clade-specific gene sets regulating membrane lipids. In particular, the genes encoding desaturase enzymes, which is a key to the temperature stress response, appeared to be temperature ecotype-specific, with some of them originating from lateral transfers. Our study suggests that regulation of membrane fluidity has been among the important adaptation processes for the colonization of different thermal niches by marine Synechococcus.
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Environmental Microbiology, Wiley-Blackwell, 2018, 20 (2), pp.612-631. 〈10.1111/1462-2920.13985〉
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Justine Pittera, Juliette Jouhet, Solène Breton, Laurence Garczarek, Frédéric Partensky, et al.. Thermoacclimation and genome adaptation of the membrane lipidome in marine Synechococcus. Environmental Microbiology, Wiley-Blackwell, 2018, 20 (2), pp.612-631. 〈10.1111/1462-2920.13985〉. 〈hal-01699416〉

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