Transcriptomic and microRNAomic profiling reveals multi-faceted mechanisms to cope with phosphate stress in a dinoflagellate

Shi, XG, Lin X, Li L, Li MZ, Palenik B, Lin SJ.  2017.  Transcriptomic and microRNAomic profiling reveals multi-faceted mechanisms to cope with phosphate stress in a dinoflagellate. Isme Journal. 11:2209-2218.

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alexandrium-catenella, alga selenastrum-minutum, alkaline-phosphatase, dynein heavy-chain, gene-expression data, limitation, phosphorus, phytoplankton, prorocentrum, recognition


Although gene regulation can occur at both transcriptional and epigenetic (microRNA) levels, combined transcriptomic and microRNAomic responses to environmental stress are still largely unexplored for marine plankton. Here, we conducted transcriptome and microRNAome sequencing for Prorocentrum donghaiense to understand the molecular mechanisms by which this dinoflagellate copes with phosphorus (P) deficiency. Under P-depleted conditions, G1/S specific cyclin gene was markedly downregulated, consistent with growth inhibition, and genes related to dissolved organic phosphorus (DOP) hydrolysis, carbon fixation, nitrate assimilation, glycolysis, and cellular motility were upregulated. The elevated expression of ATP-generating genes (for example, rhodopsin) and ATP-consuming genes suggests some metabolic reconfiguration towards accelerated ATP recycling under P deficiency. MicroRNAome sequencing revealed 17 microRNAs, potentially regulating 3268 protein-coding genes. Functional enrichment analysis of these microRNA-targeted genes predicted decreases in sulfatide (sulfolipid) catabolism under P deficiency. Strikingly, we detected a significant increase in sulfolipid sulfatide content (but not in sulphoquinovosyldiacylglycerol content) and its biosynthesis gene expression, indicating a different sulfolipid-substituting-phospholipid mechanism in this dinoflagellate than other phytoplankters studied previously. Taken together, our integrative transcriptomic and microRNAomic analyses show that enhanced DOP utilization, accelerated ATP cycling and repressed sulfolipid degradation constitute a comprehensive strategy to cope with P deficiency in a model dinoflagellate.