Response of the calcifying coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi to low pH/high pCO2: from physiology to molecular level

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Richier, Sophie ; Fiorini, Sarah ; Kerros, Marie-Emmanuelle ; von Dassow, Peter ; Gattuso, Jean-Pierre (2010)
  • Publisher: Springer-Verlag
  • Journal: Marine Biology, volume 158, issue 3, pages 551-560 (issn: 0025-3162, eissn: 1432-1793)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC3873069, doi: 10.1007/s00227-010-1580-8
  • Subject: Ecology | Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics | Original Paper | Aquatic Science
    mesheuropmc: fungi

The emergence of ocean acidification as a significant threat to calcifying organisms in marine ecosystems creates a pressing need to understand the physiological and molecular mechanisms by which calcification is affected by environmental parameters. We report here, for the first time, changes in gene expression induced by variations in pH/pCO2 in the widespread and abundant coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi. Batch cultures were subjected to increased partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2; i.e. decreased pH), and the changes in expression of four functional gene classes directly or indirectly related to calcification were investigated. Increased pCO2 did not affect the calcification rate and only carbonic anhydrase transcripts exhibited a significant down-regulation. Our observation that elevated pCO2 induces only limited changes in the transcription of several transporters of calcium and bicarbonate gives new significant elements to understand cellular mechanisms underlying the early response of E. huxleyi to CO2-driven ocean acidification.
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