Zubkov, Mikhail V., Tarran, Glen A. and Fuchs, Bernhard M.
Depth related amino acid uptake by Prochlorococcus cyanobacteria in the Southern Atlantic tropical gyre
FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 50, (3), . (doi:10.1016/j.femsec.2004.06.009).
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Ambient concentrations and turnover rates of two amino acids, leucine and methionine, by total bacterioplankton and Prochlorococcus cyanobacteria were determined along a latitudinal transect across the Southern Atlantic gyre using a combined isotopic dilution and flow cytometric sorting technique. The ambient concentrations of methionine (0.2–0.65 nM) were about 2 times higher than the concentrations of leucine, while the turnover rates of the two amino acids were remarkably similar (0.1–0.7 nM d?1). The concentrations of both amino acids did not vary significantly with depth between 3 and 150 m but their turnover rates were 1.5–2 times higher in the top 3–80 m. Prochlorococcus took up amino acids in situ at high rates. Using a representative 35S-methionine precursor, about 25% of total bacterioplankton consumption of amino acids could be assigned to Prochlorococcus with low red fluorescence (Pro LRF) inhabiting the surface mixed layer down to 80 m and about 50% assigned to Prochlorococcus with high red fluorescence (Pro HRF) living below 100 m. In the same deep waters the cellular amino acid uptake of Pro LRF was less than 6% of that of the Pro HRF, indicating declining metabolic activity of the former. The mean cellular uptake rate of Pro HRF at depths below 120 m was 2.5 amol cell?1 d?1, 4 times higher than the rates of Pro LRF in the top 80 m. The difference could be partially explained by Pro HRF cellular biomass being twice that of Pro LRF. The biomass specific rates of Prochlorococcus were comparable or higher (particular of the Pro HRF) than that of other bacterioplankton. The reported findings could explain ecological success of mixotrophic Prochlorococcus cyanobacteria over both strictly autotrophic algae and heterotrophic bacteria in oligotrophic regions sustained by nutrient remineralisation.
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