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Salt Stress Induces Paramylon Accumulation and Fine-Tuning of the Macro-Organization of Thylakoid Membranes in Euglena gracil...

by Gergely Nagy
Publication Type
Journal Name
Frontiers in Plant Science
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 15

The effects of salt stress condition on the growth, morphology, photosynthetic performance, and paramylon content were examined in the mixotrophic, unicellular, flagellate Euglena gracilis. We found that salt stress negatively influenced cell growth, accompanied by a decrease in chlorophyll (Chl) content. Circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy revealed the changes in the macro-organization of pigment-protein complexes due to salt treatment, while the small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) investigations suggested a reduction in the thylakoid stacking, an effect confirmed by the transmission electron microscopy (TEM). At the same time, the analysis of the thylakoid membrane complexes using native-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) revealed no significant change in the composition of supercomplexes of the photosynthetic apparatus. Salt stress did not substantially affect the photosynthetic activity, as reflected by the fact that Chl fluorescence yield, electron transport rate (ETR), and energy transfer between the photosystems did not change considerably in the salt-grown cells. We have observed notable increases in the carotenoid-to-Chl ratio and the accumulation of paramylon in the salt-treated cells. We propose that the accumulation of storage polysaccharides and changes in the pigment composition and thylakoid membrane organization help the adaptation of E. gracilis cells to salt stress and contribute to the maintenance of cellular processes under stress conditions.