The Effect of Zinc in Carbon Concentrating Mechanisms in Phaeodactylum tricornutum
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Photosynthesis is crucial for life but is a slow process because the CO2 concentration near the principal carbon-assimilation enzyme RuBisCO is extremely low. Very few plants and algae perform a carbon-concentrating mechanism (CCM) to overcome the insufficiency, which are classified into biophysical and biochemical (C4) mechanism. The enzyme CA catalyzes the reversible dehydration of HCO3- to CO2 in biophysical CCMs and its active site contains a Zn2+. In this study, we hypothesized that Zn2+ availability can impact CCMs and therefore investigated the effect of Zn2+ availability on photosynthetic metabolism in a unicellular marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. P. tricornutum has a sequenced genome and can conduct both biophysical and C4 CCMs. We observed that Zn2+ has a significant effect on cell growth rate but no significant interference on intracellular metabolism, suggesting no essential compensation of C4 CCMs for biophysical CCMs even at low CA activity anticipated at low Zn2+ concentration.