Dietary acquisition of photoprotective compounds (mycosporine-like amino acids, carotenoids) and acclimation to ulraviolet radiation in a freshwater copepod

Moeller, Robert E., Shawna Gilroy, Craig E. Williamson, Gabriella Grad, Ruben Sommaruga

Limnol. Oceanogr., 50(2), 2005, 427-439 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2005.50.2.0427

ABSTRACT: We experimentally tested the hypothesis that accumulations of dietary compounds such as carotenoids or UVabsorbing mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) protect against natural levels of ultraviolet radiation (UVR). A calanoid copepod, Leptodiaptomus minutus, was collected from a relatively UV-transparent lake in Pennsylvania where levels of copepod MAAs and carotenoids vary during the year (MAAs high/carotenoids low in summer). Animals raised in the laboratory under different diet/UVR treatments accumulated MAAs from an MAA-producing dinoflagellate but not from a cryptomonad that lacks them. The acquisition efficiency increased under exposure to UVR-supplemented photosynthetically active radiation (PAR, 400-700 nm), yielding MAA concentrations up to 0.7% dry weight compared with only 0.3% under unsupplemented PAR. Proportions of individual MAAs differed between the animals and their diet. Shorter wavelength absorbing palythine and shinorine (λmax 320 and 334 nm, respectively) were disproportionately accumulated over usujirene and palythene (λmax ca. 359 nm). Carotenoids accumulated under UVR exposure (to 1% dry weight) when dietary MAAs were not available. Tolerance of ultraviolet- B (UV-B) radiation was assessed as LE50s (UV exposure giving 50% mortality after 5 d) following 12-h acute exposure to artificial UV-B radiation. LE50s increased 2.5-fold for UV-acclimated, MAA-rich animals, but only 1.5-fold for UV-acclimated, carotenoid-rich animals. Compared with carotenoids, MAAs offer this copepod a more effective photoprotection strategy, potentially as important as photorepair of DNA damage, to promote tolerance of natural levels of UV-B radiation.

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