Coordinated downregulation of the photosynthetic apparatus as a protective mechanism against UV exposure in the diatom Corethron hystrix

  • Robert W. Read
  • David C. Vuono
  • Iva Neveux
  • Carl Staub
  • Joseph J. GrzymskiEmail author
Genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics


The effect of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) on photosynthetic efficiency and the resulting mechanisms against UV exposure employed by phytoplankton are not completely understood. To address this knowledge gap, we developed a novel close-coupled, wavelength-configurable platform designed to produce precise and repeatable in vitro irradiation of Corethron hystrix, a member of a genera found abundantly in the Southern Ocean where UV exposure is high. We aimed to determine its metabolic, protective, and repair mechanisms as a function of varying levels of specific electromagnetic energy. Our results show that the physiological responses to each energy level of UV have a negative linear decrease in the photosynthetic efficiency of photosystem II proportional to UV intensity, corresponding to a large increase in the turnover time of quinone reoxidation. Gene expression changes of photosystem II-related reaction center proteins D1, CP43, and CP47 showed coordinated downregulation whereas the central metabolic pathway demonstrated mixed expression of up and downregulated transcripts after UVR exposure. These results suggest that while UVR may damage photosynthetic machinery, oxidative damage may limit production of new photosynthetic and electron transport complexes as a result of UVR exposure.


Diatom UVR Photosynthetic damage Transcriptome 



We would like to thank Dr. Zbigniew Kolber for his expertise and guidance during the manuscript preparation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors Robert Read, David Vuono, and Iva Neveux declare that they have no conflict of interest. Authors Joseph Grzymski and Carl Staub have a conflict of interest as they are co-founders of the company, EMS Genomics, that developed the light engine.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2018_9544_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (717 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 717 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. Read
    • 1
  • David C. Vuono
    • 1
  • Iva Neveux
    • 1
  • Carl Staub
    • 2
  • Joseph J. Grzymski
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Earth and Ecosystem SciencesDesert Research InstituteRenoUSA
  2. 2.Agtron, Inc.RenoUSA

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