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Article

Cysteinolic Acid Is a Widely Distributed Compatible Solute of Marine Microalgae

1
Bioorganic Analytics, Institute for Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Lessingstrasse 8, D-07743 Jena, Germany
2
MPG Fellow Group, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Hans-Knöll-Straße 8, D-07745 Jena, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Hitoshi Sashiwa
Mar. Drugs 2021, 19(12), 683; https://doi.org/10.3390/md19120683
Received: 5 November 2021 / Revised: 25 November 2021 / Accepted: 26 November 2021 / Published: 30 November 2021
Phytoplankton rely on bioactive zwitterionic and highly polar small metabolites with osmoregulatory properties to compensate changes in the salinity of the surrounding seawater. Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is a main representative of this class of metabolites. Salinity-dependent DMSP biosynthesis and turnover contribute significantly to the global sulfur cycle. Using advanced chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques that enable the detection of highly polar metabolites, we identified cysteinolic acid as an additional widely distributed polar metabolite in phytoplankton. Cysteinolic acid belongs to the class of marine sulfonates, metabolites that are commonly produced by algae and consumed by bacteria. It was detected in all dinoflagellates, haptophytes, diatoms and prymnesiophytes that were surveyed. We quantified the metabolite in different phytoplankton taxa and revealed that the cellular content can reach even higher concentrations than the ubiquitous DMSP. The cysteinolic acid concentration in the cells of the diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii increases significantly when grown in a medium with elevated salinity. In contrast to the compatible solute ectoine, cysteinolic acid is also found in high concentrations in axenic algae, indicating biosynthesis by the algae and not the associated bacteria. Therefore, we add this metabolite to the family of highly polar metabolites with osmoregulatory characteristics produced by phytoplankton. View Full-Text
Keywords: cysteinolic acid; osmoadaptation; osmoregulation; ectoine; DMSP; diatoms; phytoplankton; salinity; LC/MS analysis cysteinolic acid; osmoadaptation; osmoregulation; ectoine; DMSP; diatoms; phytoplankton; salinity; LC/MS analysis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Fenizia, S.; Weissflog, J.; Pohnert, G. Cysteinolic Acid Is a Widely Distributed Compatible Solute of Marine Microalgae. Mar. Drugs 2021, 19, 683. https://doi.org/10.3390/md19120683

AMA Style

Fenizia S, Weissflog J, Pohnert G. Cysteinolic Acid Is a Widely Distributed Compatible Solute of Marine Microalgae. Marine Drugs. 2021; 19(12):683. https://doi.org/10.3390/md19120683

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fenizia, Simona, Jerrit Weissflog, and Georg Pohnert. 2021. "Cysteinolic Acid Is a Widely Distributed Compatible Solute of Marine Microalgae" Marine Drugs 19, no. 12: 683. https://doi.org/10.3390/md19120683

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