Resting cell formation in the marine diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana

Guangning Wang, Lu Huang, Shanshan Zhuang, Fang Han, Qianqian Huang, Mengyuan Hao, Guifang Lin, Longnan Chen, Biying Shen, Feng Li, Xuesong Li, Changping Chen, Yahui Gao, Thomas Mock, Junrong Liang

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Resting cells represent a survival strategy employed by diatoms to endure prolonged periods of unfavourable conditions. In the oceans, many diatoms sink at the end of their blooming season and therefore need to endure cold and dark conditions in the deeper layers of the water column. How they survive these conditions is largely unknown. We conducted an integrative analysis encompassing methods from histology, physiology, biochemistry, and genetics to reveal the biological mechanism of resting-cell formation in the model diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana. Resting-cell formation was triggered by a decrease in light and temperature with subsequent catabolism of storage compounds. Resting cells were characterised by an acidic and viscous cytoplasm and altered morphology of the chloroplast ultrastructure. The formation of resting cells in T. pseudonana is an energy demanding process required for a biophysical alteration of the cytosol and chloroplasts to endure the unfavourable conditions of the deeper ocean as photosynthetic organisms. However, most resting cells (> 90%) germinate upon return to favorable growth conditions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Phytologist
Early online date25 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Feb 2024


  • diatom
  • intracellular acidification
  • metabolic reprogramming
  • resting cell formation
  • stress resistance
  • viscous cytosol and chloroplasts

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