is a planktonic marine diatom with a diplontic life cycle comprising a short sexual phase, during which gametes are produced following the encounter of two diploid cells of opposite mating type (MT). Gene expression studies have highlighted the presence of substantial changes occurring at the onset of sexual reproduction. Herein, we have hypothesized that the amount and nature of cellular metabolites varies along the mating process. To capture the metabolome of Pseudo-nitzschia multistriata
at different harvesting times in an unbiased manner, we undertook an untargeted metabolomics approach based on liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Using three different extraction steps, the method revealed pronounced differences in the metabolic profiles between control cells in the vegetative phase (MT+ and MT−) and mixed strains of opposite MTs (cross) undergoing sexual reproduction. Of the 2408 high-quality features obtained, 70 known metabolites could be identified based on in-house libraries and online databases; additional 46 features could be classified by molecular networking of tandem mass spectra. The reduction of phytol detected in the cross can be linked to the general downregulation of photosynthesis during sexual reproduction observed elsewhere. Moreover, the role of highly regulated compounds such as 7-dehydrodesmosterol, whose changes in abundance were the highest in the experiment, oleamide, ectoine, or trigonelline is discussed.
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