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Study on the cyanobacterial toxin metabolism of Microcystis aeruginosa in nitrogen-starved conditions by a stable isotope labelling method

Qian, Zong-Yao, Chen, Xiao, Zhu, He-Te, Shi, Jun-zhe, Gong, Ting-Ting, Xian, Qi-Ming
Journal of hazardous materials 2019 v.373 pp. 558-564
Microcystis aeruginosa, algae, biosynthesis, chlorosis, environmental factors, isotope labeling, microcystins, nitrogen, stable isotopes, starvation, viability
In this study, the biosynthesis of microcystins (MCs) was investigated after long-term nitrogen-starved conditions in cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa. The results demonstrated that the algal cells were able to survive in a non-growing state with nitrogen starvation for more than one month. The physiological properties of the algal cells were studied to elucidate the mechanisms of viability under nitrogen-deprivation conditions. After the state of nitrogen chlorosis, new toxins could be resynthesized and tracked using 15N-stable isotope-labelled nitrogen. Nitrogen starvation of nutritionally replete cells resulted in a significant increase of microcystin-LY (MC-LY), thereby suggesting that MC-LY may undergo catabolism to provide nitrogen or that MC-LY may be produced to play an important role in the cell in response to nitrogen deprivation. The rank order of different types of nitrogen in algal cells assimilation was N-ammonium > N-urea > N-nitrate > N-alanine. The relationship between the production of toxin variants and various environmental conditions is an interesting issue for future research and may help improve the understanding of the ecological role of cyanobacterial toxins.