Influence of cell cycle phase on calcification in the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi
Limnol. Oceanogr., 53(2), 2008, 506-512 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2008.53.2.0506
ABSTRACT: Calcification of the cosmopolitan coccolithophore species Emiliania huxleyi was investigated in relation to the cell division cycle with the use of batch cultures. With a 12 : 12 h light : dark cycle, the population was synchronised to undergo division as a cohort, simultaneously passing through the G1 (assimilation), S (DNA replication), and G2+M (cell division and mitosis) phases. Cell division was followed with the use of quantitative DNA staining and flow cytometry. Simultaneously, carbon-14 (14C) assimilation in organic and inorganic carbon as well as cell abundance, size, and organic nitrogen content were measured at 2-h intervals. In additional experiments, changes in calcification and cell cycle stages were investigated in nitrogen-, phosphorus-, and light-limited cultures. Calcification occurred only during the G1 cell cycle phase, as seen by the very tight correlation between the percentage of cells in G1 and calcification during the dark period. When growth was limited by nitrogen, cells decreased in size, remained in the G1 phase, and showed a moderate increase in the cell-specific calcite content. Limitation of growth by phosphorus, however, caused a significant increase in cell size and a dramatic increase in cellular calcite. Light limitation, by slowing the growth rate, prolonged the time cells spent in the G1 phase with a corresponding increase in the cellular calcite content. These results help explain the differing responses of coccolithophorid growth to nitrogen, phosphorus, and light limitation.