Subcellular proteomics for determining iron-limited remodeling of plastids in the model diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana (Bacillariophyta)

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Diatoms are important primary producers in the world's oceans, yet their growth is constrained in large regions by low bioavailable iron (Fe). Low-Fe stress-induced limitation of primary production is due to requirements for Fe in components of essential metabolic pathways including photosynthesis and other chloroplast plastid functions. Studies have shown that under low-Fe stress, diatoms alter plastid-specific processes, including components of electron transport. These physiological changes suggest changes of protein content and in protein abundances within the diatom plastid. While in silico predictions provide putative information on plastid-localized proteins, knowledge of diatom plastid proteins remains limited in comparison to well-studied model photosynthetic organisms. To address this, we employed shotgun proteomics to investigate the proteome of subcellular plastid-enriched fractions from Thalassiosira pseudonana to gain a better understanding of how the plastid proteome is remodeled in response to Fe limitation. Using mass spectrometry-based peptide identification and quantification, we analyzed T. pseudonana grown under Fe-replete and -limiting conditions. Through these analyses, we inferred the relative quantities of each protein, revealing that Fe limitation regulates major metabolic pathways in the plastid, including the Calvin cycle. Additionally, we observed changes in the expression of light-harvesting proteins. In silico localization predictions of proteins identified in this plastid-enriched proteome allowed for an in-depth comparison of theoretical versus observed plastid-localization, providing evidence for the potential of additional protein import pathways into the diatom plastid.

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Journal of Phycology