INSTITUTO TECNOLOGICO DE CHASCOMUS
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Characterization of the responses to saline stress in the symbiotic green microalga Trebouxia sp. TR9
MARCO, FRANCISCO; GARCÍA-BREIJO, FRANCISCO J.; BARRENO, EVA; HINOJOSA-VIDAL, ERNESTO; ESCARAY, FRANCISCO J.; CARRASCO, PEDRO; MARTÍNEZ-ALBEROLA, FERNANDO; REIG-ARMIÑANA, JOSÉ
Año: 2018 vol. 248 p. 1473 - 1486
Main conclusion: For the first time we provide a study on the physiological, ultrastructural and molecular effects of salt stress on a terrestrial symbiotic green microalga, Trebouxia sp. TR9. Although tolerance to saline conditions has been thoroughly studied in plants and, to an extent, free-living microalgae, scientific data regarding salt stress on symbiotic lichen microalgae is scarce to non-existent. Since lichen phycobionts are capable of enduring harsh, restrictive and rapidly changing environments, it is interesting to study the metabolic machinery operating under these extreme conditions. We aim to determine the effects of prolonged exposure to high salt concentrations on the symbiotic phycobiont Trebouxia sp. TR9, isolated from the lichen Ramalina farinacea. Our results suggest that, when this alga is confronted with extreme saline conditions, the cellular structures are affected to an extent, with limited chlorophyll content loss and photosynthetic activity remaining after 72 h of exposure to 5 M NaCl. Furthermore, this organism displays a rather different molecular response compared to land plants and free-living halophile microalgae, with no noticeable increase in ABA levels and ABA-related gene expression until the external NaCl concentration is raised to 3 M NaCl. Despite this, the ABA transduction pathway seems functional, since the ABA-related genes tested are responsive to exogenous ABA. These observations could suggest that this symbiotic green alga may have developed alternative molecular pathways to cope with highly saline environments.