High throughput imaging to the diatom Cyclotella cryptica demonstrates substantial cell-to-cell variability in the rate and extent of triacylglycerol accumulation

TitleHigh throughput imaging to the diatom Cyclotella cryptica demonstrates substantial cell-to-cell variability in the rate and extent of triacylglycerol accumulation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsTraller J.C, Hildebrand M
JournalAlgal Research-Biomass Biofuels and Bioproducts
Volume2
Pagination244-252
Date Published2013/07
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2211-9264
Accession NumberWOS:000326343800010
KeywordsBODIPY; carbon; Cell-to-cell variability; chlamydomonas-reinhardtii; cycle; diatom; fluorescence method; Imaging flow cytometry; lipids; marine diatoms; metabolism; microalgae; nile red; Nutrient starvation; progression; silicon; Triacylglycerol
Abstract

In microalgal cultures, most analyses of cellular processes are done in bulk, on the entire population of cells. Information gained from this is representative of the mean; however, it obscures the richness of cell-to-cell variation, which is a well-documented phenomenon. Using imaging flow cytometry, we evaluate changes in triacylglycerol (TAG) content and chlorophyll resulting from silicon or nitrogen deprivation in the diatom Cyclotella cryptica. This approach allows detailed interrogation of large numbers of individual cells and reveals cell-to-cell variation. This study demonstrates several previously undescribed phenomena related to TAG accumulation in microalgae. First, the rate of TAG accumulation varies over time, with a faster rate occurring at the latter stage of the process, resulting in hyperaccumulation in which the majority of the cell volume is comprised of lipid droplets. In C. cryptica and other diatoms this hyperaccumulation occurs strictly under autotrophic conditions. Second, there are distinct responses to silicon or nitrogen limitation, and variation within a given type of limitation treatment. Under most conditions there is a large spread in the population when measuring either chlorophyll or TAG. Heterogeneity within the total population indicates that caution should be taken in interpreting bulk measurements for a variety of variables (TAG, transcript, protein, metabolites, etc.) related to cellular responses. However, a potential means to couple subpopulation-level responses with bulk analysis approaches is described, which could take advantage of the nuances observed during the TAG accumulation process. (C) 2013 Elsevier B. V. All rights reserved.

DOI10.1016/j.algal.2013.03.003
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Student Publication: 
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sharknado