Proton-pumping rhodopsins in Southern Ocean phytoplankton

September 18, 2023

Our study on proton-pumping rhodopsins (PPR) in Southern Ocean phytoplankton was just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Led by former post-doc Sarah Andrew, we show that PPR in Southern Ocean diatoms is located in the vacuole, making it an alternative phototrophic organelle to the chloroplast.  Energy produced by PPR increases under cold, low iron and high light conditions when photosynthetic rates are at their lowest. We found high expression of PPR genes and concentrations of retinal (the pigment used in PPR) in phytoplankton collected from environmental samples collected in waters surrounding the West Antarctic Peninsula.

Link to PNAS article here

Link to layperson summary on Kudos here