Microbial rhodopsins are major contributors to the solar energy captured in the sea

Laura Gómez-Consarnau (Lead / Corresponding author), John A. Raven, Naomi M. Levine, Lynda S. Cutter, Deli Wang, Brian Seegers, Javier Arístegui, Jed A. Fuhrman, Josep M. Gasol, Sergio A. Sañudo-Wilhelmy

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    Abstract

    All known phototrophic metabolisms on Earth rely on one of three categories of energy-converting pigments: chlorophyll-a (rarely -d), bacteriochlorophyll-a (rarely -b), and retinal, which is the chromophore in rhodopsins. While the significance of chlorophylls in solar energy capture has been studied for decades, the contribution of retinal-based phototrophy to this process remains largely unexplored. We report the first vertical distributions of the three energy-converting pigments measured along a contrasting nutrient gradient through the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The highest rhodopsin concentrations were observed above the deep chlorophyll-a maxima, and their geographical distribution tended to be inversely related to that of chlorophyll-a. We further show that proton-pumping proteorhodopsins potentially absorb as much light energy as chlorophyll-a-based phototrophy and that this energy is sufficient to sustain bacterial basal metabolism. This suggests that proteorhodopsins are a major energy-transducing mechanism to harvest solar energy in the surface ocean.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbereaaw8855
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    Number of pages8
    JournalScience Advances
    Volume5
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2019

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    Microbial Rhodopsins
    Solar Energy
    Oceans and Seas
    Phototrophic Processes
    Rhodopsin
    Mediterranean Sea
    Atlantic Ocean
    Basal Metabolism
    Chlorophyll
    Protons
    Light
    Food
    chlorophyll a

    Cite this

    Gómez-Consarnau, L., Raven, J. A., Levine, N. M., Cutter, L. S., Wang, D., Seegers, B., ... Sañudo-Wilhelmy, S. A. (2019). Microbial rhodopsins are major contributors to the solar energy captured in the sea. Science Advances, 5(8), 1-8. [eaaw8855]. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aaw8855
    Gómez-Consarnau, Laura ; Raven, John A. ; Levine, Naomi M. ; Cutter, Lynda S. ; Wang, Deli ; Seegers, Brian ; Arístegui, Javier ; Fuhrman, Jed A. ; Gasol, Josep M. ; Sañudo-Wilhelmy, Sergio A. / Microbial rhodopsins are major contributors to the solar energy captured in the sea. In: Science Advances. 2019 ; Vol. 5, No. 8. pp. 1-8.
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    title = "Microbial rhodopsins are major contributors to the solar energy captured in the sea",
    abstract = "All known phototrophic metabolisms on Earth rely on one of three categories of energy-converting pigments: chlorophyll-a (rarely -d), bacteriochlorophyll-a (rarely -b), and retinal, which is the chromophore in rhodopsins. While the significance of chlorophylls in solar energy capture has been studied for decades, the contribution of retinal-based phototrophy to this process remains largely unexplored. We report the first vertical distributions of the three energy-converting pigments measured along a contrasting nutrient gradient through the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The highest rhodopsin concentrations were observed above the deep chlorophyll-a maxima, and their geographical distribution tended to be inversely related to that of chlorophyll-a. We further show that proton-pumping proteorhodopsins potentially absorb as much light energy as chlorophyll-a-based phototrophy and that this energy is sufficient to sustain bacterial basal metabolism. This suggests that proteorhodopsins are a major energy-transducing mechanism to harvest solar energy in the surface ocean.",
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    Gómez-Consarnau, L, Raven, JA, Levine, NM, Cutter, LS, Wang, D, Seegers, B, Arístegui, J, Fuhrman, JA, Gasol, JM & Sañudo-Wilhelmy, SA 2019, 'Microbial rhodopsins are major contributors to the solar energy captured in the sea', Science Advances, vol. 5, no. 8, eaaw8855, pp. 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aaw8855

    Microbial rhodopsins are major contributors to the solar energy captured in the sea. / Gómez-Consarnau, Laura (Lead / Corresponding author); Raven, John A.; Levine, Naomi M.; Cutter, Lynda S.; Wang, Deli; Seegers, Brian; Arístegui, Javier; Fuhrman, Jed A.; Gasol, Josep M.; Sañudo-Wilhelmy, Sergio A.

    In: Science Advances, Vol. 5, No. 8, eaaw8855, 07.08.2019, p. 1-8.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    AU - Levine, Naomi M.

    AU - Cutter, Lynda S.

    AU - Wang, Deli

    AU - Seegers, Brian

    AU - Arístegui, Javier

    AU - Fuhrman, Jed A.

    AU - Gasol, Josep M.

    AU - Sañudo-Wilhelmy, Sergio A.

    N1 - This project was founded by the Marie Curie Actions–International Outgoing Fellowships (project 253970), the U.S. National Science Foundation grant OCE1335269, the Simons Foundation award 509727, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Marine Microbiology Initiative award 3779. J.A. and J.M.G. were supported by the Spanish project HOTMIX (CTM2011-30010-C02-MAR). The University of Dundee is a registered Scottish charity, no. SC015096.

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    N2 - All known phototrophic metabolisms on Earth rely on one of three categories of energy-converting pigments: chlorophyll-a (rarely -d), bacteriochlorophyll-a (rarely -b), and retinal, which is the chromophore in rhodopsins. While the significance of chlorophylls in solar energy capture has been studied for decades, the contribution of retinal-based phototrophy to this process remains largely unexplored. We report the first vertical distributions of the three energy-converting pigments measured along a contrasting nutrient gradient through the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The highest rhodopsin concentrations were observed above the deep chlorophyll-a maxima, and their geographical distribution tended to be inversely related to that of chlorophyll-a. We further show that proton-pumping proteorhodopsins potentially absorb as much light energy as chlorophyll-a-based phototrophy and that this energy is sufficient to sustain bacterial basal metabolism. This suggests that proteorhodopsins are a major energy-transducing mechanism to harvest solar energy in the surface ocean.

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    Gómez-Consarnau L, Raven JA, Levine NM, Cutter LS, Wang D, Seegers B et al. Microbial rhodopsins are major contributors to the solar energy captured in the sea. Science Advances. 2019 Aug 7;5(8):1-8. eaaw8855. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aaw8855