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Regulating cellular trace metal economy in algae

  • Author(s): Blaby-Haas, CE
  • Merchant, SS
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2017 Elsevier Ltd As indispensable protein cofactors, Fe, Mn, Cu and Zn are at the center of multifaceted acclimation mechanisms that have evolved to ensure extracellular supply meets intracellular demand. Starting with selective transport at the plasma membrane and ending in protein metalation, metal homeostasis in algae involves regulated trafficking of metal ions across membranes, intracellular compartmentalization by proteins and organelles, and metal-sparing/recycling mechanisms to optimize metal-use efficiency. Overlaid on these processes are additional circuits that respond to the metabolic state as well as to the prior metal status of the cell. In this review, we focus on recent progress made toward understanding the pathways by which the single-celled, green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii controls its cellular trace metal economy. We also compare these mechanisms to characterized and putative processes in other algal lineages. Photosynthetic microbes continue to provide insight into cellular regulation and handling of Cu, Fe, Zn and Mn as a function of the nutritional supply and cellular demand for metal cofactors. New experimental tools such as RNA-Seq and subcellular metal imaging are bringing us closer to a molecular understanding of acclimation to supply dynamics in algae and beyond.

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