Journal of Ocean University of China

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 239–252 | Cite as

Influence of N, P, Fe Nutrients Availability on Nitrogen Metabolism- Relevant Genes Expression in Skeletonema marinoi

  • Xiaoli Jing
  • Tiezhu MiEmail author
  • Yu Zhen
  • Hualong Wang
  • Zhigang Yu


Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Iron (Fe) are essential elements for cellular structure and metabolism. In addition to dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), phytoplankton is able to utilize dissolved organic nitrogen (DON). There is general consensus that both bacteria and higher plants nitrogen metabolism is affected by phosphate availability; this was also found to be true in coccolithophorid. Iron affects the structure and function of ecosystems through its effects on nitrogen metabolism. However, it is unclear how these nutrients affect Skeletonema marinoi’s nitrogen metabolism. Here, using RT-qPCR, we investigate effects of N, P, and Fe on S. marinoi’s nitrogen metabolism and nitrate reductase activity. These results illuminate that in S. marinoi, various nutrients have direct regulation on these genes expression at the molecular level. The varying degree of responses for these genes expression with differing N sources may act to increase the efficiency of nutrient capture when nitrate is limited. Suitable gene expression occurs at a N/P ratio of 16, which represents the atomic N/P ratio of phytoplankton cells and N/P concentrations in ocean; thus, nitrogen metabolism gene expression should be regulated by the existing N/P ratios in the phytoplankton’s internal and external environment. Fe concentration has a direct and significant effect on nitrogen metabolism by regulating gene expression and nitrate reductase activity. Gene expression profiles identified in S. marinoi provide a foundation for understanding molecular mechanisms behind diatom nitrogen metabolism with changing N, P, and Fe nutrients allowing a basic understanding of how diatom growth is affected by nutrient utilization.

Key words

Skeletonema marinoi nitrogen metabolism relative gene expression RT-qPCR 


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41521064), the Scientific and Technological Innovation Project of the Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (No. 2016ASKJ02) and the Public Science and Technology Research Funds Projects of Ocean (No. 201205031). We wish to thank Miss Brittany Sprecher from University of Connecticut for her help with English.


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Ocean University of China and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaoli Jing
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tiezhu Mi
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Yu Zhen
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Hualong Wang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Zhigang Yu
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.College of Marine Life ScienceOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Function Laboratory for Marine Ecology and Environmental ScienceQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Marine Environment and EcologyMinistry of EducationQingdaoChina
  4. 4.College of Environmental Science and EngineeringOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  5. 5.Key Laboratory of Marine Chemical Theory and TechnologyMinistry of EducationQingdaoChina

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