Transcriptomic analysis of acclimation to temperature and light stress in Saccharina latissima (Phaeophyceae)

PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e44342. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044342. Epub 2012 Aug 28.


Kelps, brown algae of the order Laminariales, dominate rocky shores and form huge kelp beds which provide habitat and nurseries for various marine organisms. Whereas the basic physiological and ecophysiological characteristics of kelps are well studied, the molecular processes underlying acclimation to different light and temperature conditions are still poorly understood. Therefore we investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the physiological acclimation to light and temperature stress. Sporophytes of S. latissima were exposed to combinations of light intensities and temperatures, and microarray hybridizations were performed to determine changes in gene expression patterns. This first large-scale transcriptomic study of a kelp species shows that S. latissima responds to temperature and light stress with a multitude of transcriptional changes: up to 32% of genes showed an altered expression after the exposure experiments. High temperature had stronger effects on gene expression in S. latissima than low temperature, reflected by the higher number of temperature-responsive genes. We gained insights into underlying molecular processes of acclimation, which includes adjustment of the primary metabolism as well as induction of several ROS scavengers and a sophisticated regulation of Hsps. We show that S. latissima, as a cold adapted species, must make stronger efforts for acclimating to high than to low temperatures. The strongest response was caused by the combination of high temperatures with high light intensities, which proved most harmful for the alga.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / physiology*
  • Laminaria / physiology*
  • Light
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Stress, Physiological / physiology*
  • Temperature
  • Transcriptome / physiology*

Grant support

Financial support was provided by the PACES (Coastal and Polar Systems: Polar Regions and Coasts in a changing Earth System) research program of the Alfred Wegener Institute, within the Helmholtz Foundation Initiative in Earth and Environment. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.