Allelochemicals of Alexandrium minutum: Kinetics of membrane disruption and photosynthesis inhibition in a co-occurring diatom

Type Article
Date 2021-03
Language English
Author(s) Long MarcORCID1, 2, Peltekis Alexandra3, González-Fernández Carmen4, Hégaret HeleneORCID2, Bailleul Benjamin3
Affiliation(s) 1 : School of Chemistry, University of Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
2 : Laboratoire des Sciences de l'Environnement Marin (LEMAR), UMR 6539 CNRS UBO IRD IFREMER –Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Technopôle Brest-Iroise, Rue Dumont d'Urville, 29280 Plouzané, France
3 : Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, Laboratory of Chloroplast Biology and Light Sensing in Microalgae, UMR 7141, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Sorbonne université, 75005 Paris, France
4 : Immunobiotechnology for Aquaculture Group, Department of Cell Biology and Histology, Faculty of Biology, Regional Campus of International Excellence "Campus Mare Nostrum", University of Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain
Source Harmful Algae (1568-9883) (Elsevier BV), 2021-03 , Vol. 103 , P. 101997 (12p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.hal.2021.101997
WOS© Times Cited 14
Keyword(s) Allelochemicals, Allelopathy, Alexandrium minutum, Chaetoceros muelleri, Photosynthesis, Membrane

Allelopathy is an efficient strategy by which some microalgae can outcompete other species. Allelochemicals from the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum have deleterious effects on diatoms, inhibiting metabolism and photosynthesis and therefore give a competitive advantage to the dinoflagellate. The precise mechanisms of allelochemical interactions and the molecular target of allelochemicals remain however unknown. To understand the mechanisms, the short-term effects of A. minutum allelochemicals on the physiology of the diatom Chaetoceros muelleri were investigated. The effects of a culture filtrate were measured on the diatom cytoplasmic membrane integrity (polarity and permeability) using flow-cytometry and on the photosynthetic performance using fluorescence and absorption spectroscopy. Within 10 min, the unknown allelochemicals induced a depolarization of the cytoplasmic membranes and an impairment of photosynthesis through the inhibition of the plastoquinone-mediated electron transfer between photosystem II and cytochrome b6f. At longer time of exposure, the cytoplasmic membranes were permeable and the integrity of photosystems I, II and cytochrome b6f was compromised. Our demonstration of the essential role of membranes in this allelochemical interaction provides new insights for the elucidation of the nature of the allelochemicals. The relationship between cytoplasmic membranes and the inhibition of the photosynthetic electron transfer remains however unclear and warrants further investigation.

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