Atypical iron storage in marine brown algae: a multidisciplinary study of iron transport and storage in Ectocarpus siliculosus

Lars H. Böttger, Eric P. Miller, Christian Andresen, Berthold F. Matzanke, Frithjof C. Küpper, Carl J. Carrano


Iron is an essential element for all living organisms due to its ubiquitous role in redox and other enzymes, especially in the context of respiration and photosynthesis. The iron uptake and storage systems of terrestrial/higher plants are now reasonably well understood, with two basic strategies for iron uptake being distinguished: strategy I plants use a mechanism involving induction of Fe(III)-chelate reductase (ferrireductase) and Fe(II) transporter proteins, while strategy II plants utilize high-affinity, iron-specific, binding compounds called phytosiderophores. In contrast, little is known about the corresponding systems in marine, plant-like lineages, particularly those of multicellular algae (sea- weeds). Herein the first study of the iron uptake and storage mechanisms in the brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus is reported. Genomic data suggest that Ectocarpus may use a strategy I approach. Short-term radio-iron uptake studies verified that iron is taken up by Ectocarpus in a time- and concentration-dependent manner consistent with an active transport process. Upon long-term exposure to 57Fe, two metabolites have been identified using a combination of Mössbauer and X-ray absorption spectroscopies. These include an iron–sulphur cluster accounting for ~26% of the total intracellular iron pool and a second component with spectra typical of a polymeric (Fe3+O6) system with param- eters similar to the amorphous phosphorus-rich mineral core of bacterial and plant ferritins. This iron metabolite accounts for ~74% of the cellular iron pool and suggests that Ectocarpus contains a non-ferritin but mineral-based iron storage pool.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of experimental botany
Issue number16
Pages (from-to)5763-5772
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.2012


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