Relative stability of ploidy in a marine Synechococcus across various growth conditions
journal contributionposted on 15.05.2018, 10:06 by Blanca Perez-Sepulveda, Frances Pitt, An N. N'Guyen, Morgane Ratin, Laurence Garczarek, Andrew Millard, David J. Scanlan
Marine picocyanobacteria of the genus Synechococcus are ubiquitous phototrophs in oceanic systems. Consistent with these organisms occupying vast tracts of the nutrient impoverished ocean, most marine Synechococcus so far studied are monoploid, i.e., contain a single chromosome copy. The exception is the oligoploid strain Synechococcus sp. WH7803, which on average possesses around 4 chromosome copies. Here, we set out to understand the role of resource availability (through nutrient deplete growth) and physical stressors (UV, exposure to low and high temperature) in regulating ploidy level in this strain. Using qPCR to assay ploidy status we demonstrate the relative stability of chromosome copy number in Synechococcus sp. WH7803. Such robustness in maintaining an oligoploid status even under nutrient and physical stress is indicative of a fundamental role, perhaps facilitating recombination of damaged DNA regions as a result of prolonged exposure to oxidative stress, or allowing added flexibility in gene expression via possessing multiple alleles.