In a changing climate, understanding how organisms respond to stressful conditions is becoming increasingly important. New work, led by Arthur Grossman of Carnegie and Emanuel Sanz-Luque, could enable scientists to develop organisms̵
Their research focuses on polyphosphate, an energy-rich polymer of tens to hundreds of phosphate groups that persists in all walks of life and is an integral part of many cellular activities, including the body’s ability to respond to changing environmental conditions.
“The ways in which polyphosphate synthesis and mobilization can be integrated into countless biological processes in a number of photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic organisms and different cell types are difficult to fathom,” Grossman said. “Polyphosphate plays a critical role in the response to environmental stress, including high temperatures, exposure to toxic metals and, of particular interest to us, nutrient deprivation.”
The research team, which also included Shai Sarusi of Carnegie, Wichao Huang and Nicholas Akawi, investigated how photosynthetic algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii copes with scarce nutrients. Their findings were recently published in Scientific progress.
The team found that polyphosphate synthesis is deeply integrated with cellular metabolism, using this link to shape the algae ‘s ability to adapt to the challenges in its environment.
Using modern techniques, researchers have shown that the synthesis of polyphosphate is crucial for maintaining the optimal energy balance that allows cellular physiological processes. When nutrient availability is low, polyphosphate synthesis is required for algae to adjust their cellular metabolism and survive adverse conditions. This is done by influencing the biochemical processes taking place in the centers of cell strength – the mitochondria, which perform respiration, and the chloroplasts, which perform photosynthesis.
If a cell’s ability to synthesize polyphosphate is impaired, it is unable to perform normal electronic transport in mitochondria and chloroplasts – central to the functions of these key organelles – compromising cell regulation, fitness and survival.
It is possible that the role of polyphosphate synthesis and mobilization in regulating cell energy functions under nutrient-restricted conditions may lead to the creation of “checkpoint” molecules in the chloroplast and mitochondria that drive changes in genes expressed in response. environmental conditions, “said lead author Sanz-Luque.
This knowledge could be used to improve the resilience of other photosynthetic organisms and make them better able to survive the stress of a changing climate.
Together, Emanuel Sanz-Luke, Devaki Baia and Carnegie’s Arthur Grossman published a comprehensive review in Limits in plant science detailing the ways in which polyphosphate is integrated into metabolic networks and regulatory processes in various photosynthetic organisms.
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E. Sanz-Luque et al., Metabolic control of adaptation to nutrient deprivation depending on polyphosphate synthesis, Scientific progress (2020). DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.abb5351
Provided by the Carnegie Institution of Science
Quote: Phosphate polymer is a cornerstone of metabolic control (2020, October 15), extracted on October 16, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-10-phosphate-polymer-cornerstone-metabolic.html
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