Constitutive cylindrospermopsin pool size in Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii under different light and CO2 partial pressure conditions

Mattia Pierangelini, Rati Sinha, Anusuya Willis, Michele A Burford, Philip T Orr, John Beardall, Brett A Neilan

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40 Citations (Scopus)


Cylindrospermopsin (CYN) and 7-deoxy-cylindrospermopsin (dCYN) are potent hepatotoxic alkaloids produced by numerous species of cyanobacteria, including the freshwater Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii. C. raciborskii is an invasive cyanobacterium, and the study of how environmental parameters drive CYN production has received significant interest from water managers and health authorities. Light and CO2 affect cell growth and physiology in photoautotrophs, and these are potential regulators of cyanotoxin biosynthesis. In this study, we investigated how light and CO2 affect CYN and dCYN pool size as well as the expression of the key genes, cyrA and cyrK, involved in CYN biosynthesis in a toxic C. raciborskii strain. For cells growing at different light intensities (10 and 100 μmol photonsm-2 s-1), we observed that the rate of CYN pool size production (μCYN) was coupled to the cell division rate (μc) during batch culture. This indicated that CYN pool size under our experimental conditions is constant and cell quotas of CYN (QCYN) and dCYN (QdCYN) are fixed. Moreover, a lack of correlation between expression of cyrA and total CYN cell quotas (QCYNs) suggests that the CYN biosynthesis is regulated posttranscriptionally. Under elevated CO2 (1,300 ppm), we observed minor effects on QCYN and no effects on expression of cyrA and cyrK. We conclude that the CYN pool size is constitutive and not affected by light and CO2 conditions. Thus, C. raciborskii bloom toxicity is determined by the absolute abundance of C. raciborskii cells within the water column and the relative abundance of toxic and nontoxic strains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3069-3076
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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