Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences. 2017-09-05; 372.1728:

Mechanisms of carbon dioxide acquisition and CO2 sensing in marine diatoms: a gateway to carbon metabolism

Matsuda Y, Hopkinson BM, Nakajima K, Dupont CL, Tsuji Y

PMID: 28717013


Diatoms are one of the most successful marine eukaryotic algal groups, responsible for up to 20% of the annual global CO fixation. The evolution of a CO-concentrating mechanism (CCM) allowed diatoms to overcome a number of serious constraints on photosynthesis in the marine environment, particularly low [CO] in seawater relative to concentrations required by the CO fixing enzyme, ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO), which is partly due to the slow diffusion rate of CO in water and a limited CO formation rate from [Formula: see text] in seawater. Diatoms use two alternative strategies to take up dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) from the environment: one primarily relies on the direct uptake of [Formula: see text] through plasma-membrane type solute carrier (SLC) 4 family [Formula: see text] transporters and the other is more reliant on passive diffusion of CO formed by an external carbonic anhydrase (CA). Bicarbonate taken up into the cytoplasm is most likely then actively transported into the chloroplast stroma by SLC4-type transporters on the chloroplast membrane system. Bicarbonate in the stroma is converted into CO only in close proximity to RubisCO preventing unnecessary CO leakage. CAs play significant roles in mobilizing DIC as it is progressively moved towards the site of fixation. However, the evolutionary types and subcellular locations of CAs are not conserved between different diatoms, strongly suggesting that this DIC mobilization strategy likely evolved multiple times with different origins. By contrast, the recent discovery of the thylakoid luminal θ-CA indicates that the strategy to supply CO to RubisCO in the pyrenoid may be very similar to that of green algae, and strongly suggests convergent coevolution in CCM function of the thylakoid lumen not only among diatoms but among eukaryotic algae in general. In this review, both experimental and corresponding theoretical models of the diatom CCMs are discussed.This article is part of the themed issue 'The peculiar carbon metabolism in diatoms'.