Marine Biology

, Volume 149, Issue 1, pp 97–106 | Cite as

Physiological and biochemical responses to thermal and salinity stresses in a sterile mutant of Ulva pertusa (Ulvales, Chlorophyta)

  • M. KakinumaEmail author
  • D. A. Coury
  • Y. Kuno
  • S. Itoh
  • Y. Kozawa
  • E. Inagaki
  • Y. Yoshiura
  • H. Amano


Like other organisms in the marine ecosystem, macroalgae are subjected to intense environmental stresses, particularly in the intertidal zone. The green seaweed Ulva inhabits rocky intertidal zones worldwide, suggesting that this alga may be a good model system for studying environmental stress responses in marine plants. Here, we review the physiological and biochemical responses to thermal and salinity stresses in a sterile mutant of Ulva pertusa. In response to high-temperature stress, the amount of photosynthetic pigments, major free amino acids (AA), and total carbon and nitrogen in U. pertusa increase. Changes in chemical components due to high-temperature stress are consistent with morphological changes in thalli subjected to high temperature and suggest that high-temperature stress mainly affects nitrogen metabolism. Isozyme assays show that the alga expresses a glutamate dehydrogenase isozyme in response to high-temperature stress, and that its expression was regulated at the mRNA transcription level. Chemical component changes due to salinity stress indicate a possibility that the low- and high-salinity conditions affect photosynthesis and carbon and nitrogen metabolism, respectively. In particular, it was observed that thalli exposed to hypersaline conditions rapidly accumulate the organic osmolyte proline, suggesting that free proline accumulation is an important tolerance mechanism in this alga for adapting to hypersaline conditions. Finally, we discuss future directions for the molecular analysis of environmental stress in U. pertusa.


Salinity Stress Photosynthetic Pigment Ulva Ammonia Assimilation Total Carbon Content 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture of Japan. We thank Dr. M. Maegawa of the Faculty of Bioresources, Mie University, Japan, and Dr. T. Morita of the Marine Productivity Division of National Research Institute of Fisheries Science, Japan, for help with the experiments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Kakinuma
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. A. Coury
    • 1
  • Y. Kuno
    • 1
  • S. Itoh
    • 1
  • Y. Kozawa
    • 1
  • E. Inagaki
    • 1
  • Y. Yoshiura
    • 2
  • H. Amano
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Marine Biochemistry, Faculty of BioresourcesMie UniversityTsu, MieJapan
  2. 2.Division of Aquatic Animal HealthNational Research Institute of AquacultureTamaki, MieJapan

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