A filamentous benthic cyanobacteria, strain USMAC16, was isolated from the High Arctic Svalbard archipelago, Norway, and a combination of morphological, ultrastructural and molecular characterisation (16S rRNA gene sequence) used to identify to species level. Cell dimensions, thylakoid arrangement and apical cell shape are consistent with the Pseudanabaena genus description. The molecular characterisation of P. catenata gave 100% similarity with Pseudanabaena catenata SAG 1464-1, originally reported from Germany. Strain USMAC16 was cultured under a range of temperature and photoperiod conditions, in solid and liquid media, and harvested at exponential phase to examine its phenotypic plasticity. Under different culture conditions, we observed considerable variations in cell dimensions. The longest cell (5.91±0.13 μm) was observed at 15°C under 12:12 light:dark, and the widest cell (3.24±0.06 μm) at 4°C under 12:12 light: dark in liquid media. The study provides baseline data documenting the morphological variation of P. catenata in response to changing temperature regimes.
Microbes living in the polar regions have some common and unique strategies to respond to thermal stress. Nevertheless, the amount of information available, especially at the molecular level is lacking for some organisms such as Antarctic psychrophilic yeast. For instance, it is not known whether molecular chaperones in Antarctic yeasts play similar roles to those from mesophilic yeasts when they are exposed to heat stress. Therefore, this project aimed to determine the gene expression patterns and roles of molecular chaperones in Antarctic psychrophilic Glaciozyma antarctica PI12 that was exposed to heat stress. G. antarctica PI12 was grown at its optimal growth temperature of 12ºC and later exposed to heat stresses at 16ºC and 20ºC for 6 hours. Transcriptomes of those cells were extracted, sequenced and analyzed. Thirty-three molecular chaperone genes demonstrated differential expression of which 23 were up-regulated while 10 were down-regulated. Functions of up-regulated molecular chaperone genes were related to protein binding, response to a stimulus, chaperone binding, cellular response to stress, oxidation, and reduction, ATP binding, DNA-damage response and regulation for cellular protein metabolic process. On the other hand, functions of down-regulated molecular chaperone genes were related to chaperone-mediated protein complex assembly, transcription, cellular macromolecule metabolic process, regulation of cell growth and ribosome biogenesis. The findings provided information on how molecular chaperones work together in a complex network to protect the cells under heat stress. It also highlights the evolutionary conserved protective role of molecular chaperones in psychrophilic yeast, G. antarctica, and mesophilic yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.