In a changing climate, understanding how organisms respond to stress conditions is especially important. The new work led by Carnegie Arthur Grossman and Emanuel Sanz-Luque could enable scientists to research the metabolism of organisms to become more resilient and productive in a range of environments.
Their research focuses on polyphosphate, an energy-rich polymer of ten to hundreds of phosphate groups that saves all life spheres and is essential for many cellular activities, including the ability of an organism to respond in changing environmental conditions.
“The ways in which the syntheship and mobilization of polyphosphate can be incorporated into a myriad of biological processes in a range of photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic organisms and different cell types are difficult to solve,”; said Grossman. “Polyphosphate plays a critical role in responding to environmental stressors, including high temperatures, exposure to toxic metals and, of particular interest to us, nutrient deprivation.”
The research team — which also includes Carnegie Shai Saroussi, Weichao Huang, and Nicholas Akkawi — investigated how photosynthetic alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cope with minimal nutrition. Their findings were recently published in Advances in Science.
The team revealed that polyphosphate synthesis is deeply integrated into cellular metabolism, using this interaction to shape the algae’s ability to adapt to the challenges around it.
Using advanced techniques, researchers have shown that polyphosphate synthesis is essential for maintaining optimal energy balance, enabling cellular physiological processes. When nutrient uptake is low, polyphosphate synthesis is needed for algae to regulate its cellular metabolism and to survive adverse conditions. This is done by affecting the biochemical processes taking place in the electrical centers of the cell – mitochondria that conduct respiration and chloroplasts that conduct photosynthesis.
If a cell’s ability to synthesize polyphosphate is impaired, it fails to produce normal electron transport in mitochondria and chloroplasts – which are key components of the functions of these major organelles – which compromise cellular regulation, fitness, and safety.
It is possible that the role of polyphosphate synthesis and mobilization in controlling vigorous cell function under nutrient-limited conditions results in the creation of “checkpoints” within the chloroplast and mitochondria that guide changes in genes expressed in response to environmental conditions, “said lead author Sanz-Luque.
This knowledge could potentially improve the stability of other photosynthetic organisms and make them better able to withstand the stress of a changing climate.
Together Carnegie Emanuel Sanz-Luque, Devaki Bhaya, and Arthur Grossman also published a comprehensive review on Boundaries in Plant Science detailing the ways in which polyphosphate is incorporated into metabolic networks and processes controlling various photosynthetic organisms.
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E. Sanz-Luque et al, Metabolic control of acclimation to nutrient deprivation dependent on polyphosphate synthesis, Advances in Science (2020). DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.abb5351
Provided by the Carnegie Institution for Science
Citation: Phosphate polymer forms a foundation of metabolic control (2020, October 15) obtained on October 16, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-10-phosphate-polymer-cornerstone-metabolic.html
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