A multidisciplinary study of iron transport and storage in the marine green alga Tetraselmis suecica

Andrej Hartnett, Lars H. Böttger, Berthold F. Matzanke*, Carl J. Carrano

*Corresponding author for this work
9 Citations (Scopus)


The iron uptake and storage systems of terrestrial/higher plants are now reasonably well understood with two basic strategies being distinguished: strategy I involves the induction of a Fe(III)-chelate reductase (ferrireductase) along with Fe(II) or Fe(III) transporter proteins while strategy II plants have evolved sophisticated systems based on high-affinity, iron specific, binding compounds called phytosiderophores. In contrast, there is little knowledge about the corresponding systems in marine, plant-like lineages. Herein we report a study of the iron uptake and storage mechanisms in the green alga Tetraselmis suecica. Short term radio-iron uptake studies indicate that iron is taken up by Tetraselmis in a time and concentration dependent manner consistent with an active transport process. Based on inhibitor and other studies it appears that a reductive-oxidative pathway such as that found in yeast and the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is likely. Upon long term exposure to 57Fe we have been able, using a combination of Mössbauer and X-ray absorption spectroscopies, to identify three metabolites. The first exhibits Mössbauer parameters typical of a [Fe 4S4]2+ cluster and which accounts for approximately 10% of the total intracellular iron pool. The second displays a spectrum typical of a [FeIIO6] system accounting for approximately 2% of the total pool. The largest component (ca. 85+%) consists of polymeric iron-oxo mineral species with parameters between that of the crystalline ferrihydrite core of animal ferritins and the amorphous hydrated ferric phosphate of bacterial and plant ferritins.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Inorganic Biochemistry
Pages (from-to)188-194
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 01.11.2012


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