The relative significance of viral lysis and microzooplankton grazing as pathways of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) cleavage: An Emiliania huxleyi culture study

Evans, Claire, Susanne V. Kadner, Louise J. Darroch, William H. Wilson, Peter S. Liss, Gillian Malin

Limnol. Oceanogr., 52(3), 2007, 1036-1045 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2007.52.3.1036

ABSTRACT: Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) cleavage was investigated during culture studies of grazing by the microzooplankter Oxyrrhis marina and viral lysis by Emiliania huxleyi virus 86 (EhV-86) on two axenic strains of E. huxleyi. The cleavage products of DMSP, dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and acrylic acid (AA), accumulated during viral infection of both strains, confirming that viral lysis of algae can lead directly to DMSP cleavage. AA and DMS accumulated in parallel with compromised E. huxleyi cells, indicating that DMSP cleavage occurred during the physical disruption of the infected cells. This is in agreement with the hypothesis that DMSP and DMSP lyase ([DL] the enzyme responsible for cleaving DMSP) are segregated in healthy or undamaged cells. During grazing, the concentrations of DMS and AA produced per eaten cell were an order of magnitude higher than the concentrations resulting from cell death caused by viral infection, suggesting that grazing is the quantitatively more significant pathway of DMS production in E. huxleyi. Levels of DL activity decreased in infected cultures to a minimum of 0.00065 fmol cell-1 min-1 as compared with an average of 0.09 fmol cell-1 min-1 in the control cultures, indicating that reduced DL activity in virally infected cells was responsible for the lower levels of DMSP cleavage observed during viral lysis.

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