SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • cell cycle;
  • fixed carbon partitioning;
  • Porphyridium sp.;
  • red microalga;
  • sulfated polysaccharide

The main products of carbon fixation in the red algae are sulfated cell-wall polysaccharides, floridean starch, and low molecular weight (LMW) carbohydrates, mainly floridoside. In the red microalga Porphyridium sp., sulfated polysaccharide—cell bound and soluble—comprises up to 70% of the algal biomass. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the partitioning of fixed carbon in Porphyridium sp. toward the different products of carbon fixation. Using pulse-chase technique with [14C]bicarbonate, we followed 14C flow into the major compounds, namely, cell-wall polysaccharide, floridoside, starch, and protein, under various environmental conditions (i.e. carbon dioxide enrichment and nitrate starvation). 13C-NMR and gas chromatography analysis showed the main LMW product in Porphyridium sp. to be floridoside. After the short [14C]bicarbonate pulse (20 min), 42%–53% of total 14C uptake was initially found in floridoside. The appearance of 14C in the soluble polysaccharide was evident immediately at the end of the 20-min [14C]bicarbonate pulse. The specific radioactivity in the floridoside fraction declined by 80% after the 48-h chase, this decline being accompanied by increased labeling of starch and the soluble polysaccharide. In cells exposed to high CO2 concentration, larger amounts of 14C (about twice as much) were channeled into starch and soluble polysaccharide than in cells under low CO2 concentration. The most significant increase (1500%) in labeling during chase was found in the soluble polysaccharide of the nitrate-deprived cultures. It therefore seems likely that the large amounts of carbon incorporated by Porphyridium sp. cells into floridoside were subsequently used for the synthesis of macromolecular components. The data thus support the premise that floridoside serves as a dynamic carbon pool, which channels the fixed carbon toward polysaccharides and other end products according to the ambient conditions.