Monitoring the single-cell stress response of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana by quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR

Xu Shi, Weimin Gao, Shih-Hui Chao, Weiwen Zhang, Deirdre Meldrum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Directly monitoring the stress response of microbes to their environments could be one way to inspect the health of microorganisms themselves, as well as the environments in which the microorganisms live. The ultimate resolution for such an endeavor could be down to a single-cell level. In this study, using the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana as a model species, we aimed to measure gene expression responses of this organism to various stresses at a single-cell level. We developed a single-cell quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-qPCR) protocol and applied it to determine the expression levels of multiple selected genes under nitrogen, phosphate, and iron depletion stress conditions. The results, for the first time, provided a quantitative measurement of gene expression at single-cell levels in T. pseudonana and demonstrated that significant gene expression heterogeneity was present within the cell population. In addition, different expression patterns between single-cell- and bulk-cell-based analyses were also observed for all genes assayed in this study, suggesting that cell response heterogeneity needs to be taken into consideration in order to obtain accurate information that indicates the environmental stress condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1850-1858
Number of pages9
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Volume79
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology

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