Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Science Advances

ISSN

2375-2548

Volume

5

Issue

8

PubMed ID

31457093

Publisher

American Association for the Advancement of Science

School

Centre for Marine Ecosystem Research

Comments

Originally published as: Gómez-Consarnau, L., Raven, J. A., Levine, N. M., Cutter, L. S., Wang, D., Seegers, B., ... Sañudo-Wilhelmy, S. A. (2019). Microbial rhodopsins are major contributors to the solar energy captured in the sea. Science Advances, 5(8), Article eaaw8855. Original publication available here

Abstract

All known phototrophic metabolisms on Earth rely on one of three categories of energy-converting pigments: chlorophyll-a (rarely -d), bacteriochlorophyll-a (rarely -b), and retinal, which is the chromophore in rhodopsins. While the significance of chlorophylls in solar energy capture has been studied for decades, the contribution of retinal-based phototrophy to this process remains largely unexplored. We report the first vertical distributions of the three energy-converting pigments measured along a contrasting nutrient gradient through the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The highest rhodopsin concentrations were observed above the deep chlorophyll-a maxima, and their geographical distribution tended to be inversely related to that of chlorophyll-a. We further show that proton-pumping proteorhodopsins potentially absorb as much light energy as chlorophyll-a–based phototrophy and that this energy is sufficient to sustain bacterial basal metabolism. This suggests that proteorhodopsins are a major energy-transducing mechanism to harvest solar energy in the surface ocean.

DOI

10.1126/sciadv.aaw8855

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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