International Microbiology, Vol 6, No 1 (2003)

A methodological approach to investigate steady state fucoxanthin chlorophyll a/c binding protein mRNA levels in Wadden Sea sediments

Telse Meyer, Michael Hust, Jürgen Marquardt, Wolfgang E. Krumbein, Erhard Rhiel


A method was established to investigate the steady state levels of mRNAs from genes encoding fucoxanthin chlorophyll a/c binding proteins (Fcp) of diatoms in situ. During the study, which was performed withWadden Sea sediments from the German North Sea shore near Dangast, oxygenic photosynthesis was carried out mainly by pennate diatoms. Field samples were taken after tidal exposure from dawn up to late afternoon at 2-hourly intervals, and frozen in liquid nitrogen. In the laboratory, total RNA was isolated by isopycnic ultracentrifugation in caesium chloride gradients. Yields of approximately 10–300 μg RNA per gram wet sediment were obtained. Defined amounts of total RNA were blotted onto nylon membranes and hybridised with probes against the fcp2 and 18S rDNA genes of Cyclotella cryptica. To estimate the steady state amount of fcp mRNAs, fcp signal intensities were normalized to the signal intensities obtained from hybridisation to an 18S rDNA gene probe. In the two time-course studies performed to demonstrate the applicability of the method, the steady state levels of fcp mRNA increased up to 12-fold with the onset of light, reaching a maximum 6–8 h after sunrise before they decreased again. Possible reasons for this time-course are discussed.

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