Copper-dependent iron transport in coastal and oceanic diatoms
Limnol. Oceanogr., 51(4), 2006, 1729-1743 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2006.51.4.1729
ABSTRACT: We investigated the presence of plasmalemma-bound copper-containing oxidases associated with the inducible iron (Fe) transport system in two diatoms of the genus Thalassiosira. Under Fe-limiting conditions, Thalassiosira oceanica, an oceanic isolate, was able to enzymatically oxidize inorganic Fe(II) extracellularly. This oxidase activity was dependent on copper (Cu) availability and diminished by exposure to a multi-Cu oxidase (MCO) inhibitor. The rates of Fe uptake from ferrioxamine B by Fe-limited T. oceanica were also dependent on Cu availability in the growth media. The effects of Cu limitation on Fe(II) oxidation and Fe uptake from ferrioxamine B were partially reversed after a short exposure to a Cu addition, indicating that the putative oxidases contain Cu. Limited physiological experiments were also performed with the coastal diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana and provided some evidence for putative Cu-containing oxidases in the high-affinity Fe transport system of this isolate. To support these preliminary physiological data, we searched the newly available T. pseudonana genome for a multi-Cu-containing oxidase gene and, using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), quantified its expression under various Fe and Cu levels. We identified a putative MCO gene with predicted transmembrane domains and found that transcription levels of this gene were significantly elevated in Fe-limited cells relative to Fe-replete cells. These data collectively suggest that putative MCOs are part of the inducible Fe transport system of Fe-limited diatoms, which act to oxidize Fe(II) following reductive dissociation of Fe(III) from strong organic complexes.