8, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1221775110


Muñoz-Marin MC, Luque I, Zubkov MV, Hill PG, Diez J & García-Fernandez JM


Prochlorococcus is responsible for a significant part of CO2 fixation in the ocean. Although it was long considered an autotrophic cyanobacterium, the uptake of organic compounds has been reported, assuming they were sources of limited biogenic elements. We have shown in laboratory experiments that Prochlorococcus can take up glucose. However, the mechanisms of glucose uptake and its occurrence in the ocean have not been shown. Here, we report that the gene Pro1404 confers capability for glucose uptake in Prochlorococcus marinus SS120. We used a cyanobacterium unable to take up glucose to engineer strains that express the Pro1404 gene. These recombinant strains were capable of specific glucose uptake over a wide range of glucose concentrations, showing multiphasic transport kinetics. The Ks constant of the high affinity phase was in the nanomolar range, consistent with the average concentration of glucose in the ocean. Furthermore, we were able to observe glucose uptake by Prochlorococcus in the central Atlantic Ocean, where glucose concentrations were 0.5–2.7 nM. Our results suggest that Prochlorococcus are primary producers capable of tuning their metabolism to energetically benefit from environmental conditions, taking up not only organic compounds with key limiting elements in the ocean, but also molecules devoid of such elements, like glucose.


El estudio llevado a cabo por el grupo de los Drs. Jose Manuel García Fernández y Jesús Díez, del Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular de la Universidad de Córdoba, cuya primera autora es la doctoranda María del Carmen Muñoz Marín, ha probado que Prochlorococcus es perfectamente capaz de absorber glucosa del océano. El estudio se ha publicado en Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, después de tres años de trabajo en el laboratorio y dos meses de expedición en el Océano Atlántico, tomando muestras en un viaje desde el Sur de Inglaterra hasta Chile, y gracias a la colaboración con el Dr. Ignacio Luque, del Instituto de Bioquímica Vegetal y Fotosíntesis del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) y el Dr. Mikhail Zubkov, del Centro Oceanográfico Nacional de Southampton, en Reino Unido.

imagen mayo


Prochlorococcus es una cianobacteria marina de extraordinaria importancia, siendo responsable de una parte significativa de la producción primaria global. Además, es el organismo fotosintético más pequeño y abundante de nuestro planeta. Debido a esto, Prochlorococcus se ha convertido en un modelo ecológico de gran relevancia. Nuestro grupo ha estado estudiando desde 1997 el metabolismo del nitrógeno en Prochlorococcus. Por otra parte, nuestro grupo descubrió en 2006 la capacidad que tiene Prochlorococcus de transportar glucosa, creándose una segunda linea de investigación en el metabolismo del carbono. Actualmente, seguimos investigando las adaptaciones en el metabolismo del nitrógeno y el carbono de Prochlorococcus que puedan contribuir a su éxito ecológico.

Para ver el artículo completo, pulse aqui

Más artículos en la revista SEBBM.

Did you publish an interesting article recently?

Send it through our application form and we will contact you. Age limit: 32.

The selected articles will participate at the Award to the best article of young people of the SEBBM which will be given during SEBBM conference, that will take place at Spain (free registration, travel and accommodation).

More articles of the month

Identification of distinct maturation steps involved in human 40S ribosomal subunit biosynthesis


Technical problems intrinsic to the purification of preribosome intermediates have limited our understanding of ribosome biosynthesis in humans. Addressing this issue is important given the implication of this biological process...

Read more

Unraveling the cellular origin and clinical prognostic markers of infant B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia using genome-wide analysis


B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the commonest childhood cancer. In infants, B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia remains fatal, especially in patients with t(4;11), present in ~80% of cases. The pathogenesis of...

Read more

Mip6 binds directly to the Mex67 UBA domainto maintain low levels of Msn2/4 stress-dependent mRNAs


RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) participate in all steps of gene expression, underscoring their potential as regulators of RNA homeostasis. We structurally and functionally characterize Mip6, a four-RNA recognition motif (RRM)-containing RBP...

Read more

A bacterial light response reveals an orphan desaturase for human plasmalogen synthesis


Plasmalogens are glycerophospholipids with a hallmark sn-1 vinyl ether bond. These lipids are found in animals and some bacteria and have proposed membrane organization, signaling, and antioxidant roles. We discovered...

Read more

The structure of a polygamous repressor reveals how phage-inducible chromosomal islands spread in nature


Stl is a master repressor encoded by Staphylococcus aureus pathogenicity islands (SaPIs) that maintains integration of these elements in the bacterial chromosome. After infection or induction of a resident helper...

Read more

Self-Assembling ELR-Based Nanoparticles as Smart Drug-Delivery Systems Modulating Cellular Growth via Akt


This work investigates the physicochemical properties and in vitro accuracy of a genetically engineered drug delivery system based on elastin-like block recombinamers. The DNA recombinant technics allowed us to create...

Read more

Structure–Function of MamC Loop and Its Effect on the *in Vitro* Precipitation of Biomimetic Magnetite Nanoparticles


MamC, an integral protein of the magnetosome membrane, has recently been proposed as a strong candidate to produce biomimetic (magnetosome-like) magnetite nanoparticles that could be used as an alternative to...

Read more

Sticholysin, Sphingomyelin, and Cholesterol: A Closer Look at a Tripartite Interaction


Actinoporins are a group of soluble toxic proteins that bind to membranes containing sphingomyelin (SM) and oli- gomerize to form pores. Sticholysin II (StnII) is a member of the actinoporin...

Read more

Astrocytic mitochondrial ROS modulate brain metabolism and mouse behaviour


To satisfy its high energetic demand, the brain depends on the metabolic cooperation of various cell types. For example, astrocytic-derived lactate sustains memory consolidation by serving both as an oxidizable...

Read more

Glucose restriction promotes osteocyte specification by activating a PGC-1α-dependent transcriptional program


Osteocytes, the most abundant of bone cells, differentiate while they remain buried within the bone matrix. This encasement limits their access to nutrients and likely affects their differentiation, a process...

Read more

Protector Members