Norman Hüner (Canada)
Office: North Campus Building 441
Phone: (519) 661-2111 x 86488
Fax: 519 661-3935
Surprising to most, the Earth is generally a cold place. Eighty per cent of our biosphere is permanently below 5°C, including most of the oceans and the polar and alpine regions. Antarctica and its surrounding oceans as well as the Arctic, once assumed to be devoid of biodiversity has been shown to be teeming with diverse life forms. Consequently, these organisms represent some of the least studied but are crucial components to one of the most important ecosystems on the planet. Eukaryotic algae and cyanobacteria are the dominant life forms in these cold habitats, many of which are psychrophiles, that is, obligately adapted to low temperature but die at “normal” temperatures. The Antarctic green alga, Chlamydomonas sp. UWO 241 is the primary biological system under study in my laboratory and has become a model system for study of life at the edge.
A photoautotrophic life style requires the integration of photophysical, photochemical and biochemical processes involved in the conversion of light energy into stable storage forms of carbon for growth and metabolism. The photophysical processes of light absorption and energy trapping (energy source) occur on a 10-12 to 10-6s time scale and are temperature insensitive. In contrast, biochemical reactions involved energy conversion and storage (energy sink) are temperature sensitive and occur on time scale that is 10 orders of magnitude slower. These disparate rates can expose photoautotrophs to excess excitation energy (EEE) which result in a potential cellular energy imbalance measured as excitation pressure. Consequently, an essential component in the evolution of photoautotrophic psychrophiles must be the maintenance of cellular energy balance between source and sink.
The long-term goal of my research programme is the complete physiological, biochemical and molecular characterization of Chlamydomonas sp. UWO 241 with respect to the structure and function of its novel photosynthetic apparatus in order to explain how UWO 241 maintains cellular energy balance under its unique and extreme environment as well as to elucidate the molecular basis of psychrophily. This is accomplished by combining physiological, biochemical, biophysical and molecular techniques and approaches.
Degrees and Institutions
- Hons. B.Sc. Biochemistry, UWO (1971)
- MSc Biochemistry, UWO (1975)
- PhD Plant Biochemistry, Carleton University (1978)
- Honorary Doctor of Science, Umeå University, Sweden (1999)
RESEARCH CONTRIBUTIONS. (Since 2013) (google scholar h-index = 68)
FIVE MOST SIGNIFICANT RESEARCH CONTRIBUTIONS (Since 2013)
Szyszka-Mroz B, Pittock P, Ivanov A, Lajoie G, Hüner NPA (2015) The Antarctic psychrophile, Chlamydomonas s UWO 241 preferentially phosphorylates a PSI-Cytb6/f supercomplex. Plant Physiol 169: 717-736. A unique characteristic of UWO 241 is its inability to undergo state transitions coupled with the absence of LHCII phosphorylation. We show that UWO241 preferentially phosphorylates specific polypeptides associated with a ~1000 kDa PSI- cytochrome b6/f supercomplex. Nano-LC-ESI-MS/MS identified 3 major phosphorylated proteins associated with this PSI supercomplex: two 17 kDa PsbP-like proteins, and a 70 kDa ATP-dependent zinc metalloprotease FtsH. UWO241 exhibited PSI cyclic electron transport rates that were 3 times faster and more sensitive to antimycin A than the mesophile controls. The stability of the PSI-Cyt b6/f supercomplex was dependent upon the phosphorylation status of the PsbP-like protein and the zinc metalloprotease FtsH as well as the presence of high salt. We suggest that adaptation of Chlamydomonas sp. UWO241 to its unique low temperature and high salt environment favours phosphorylation of a PSI-Cytb6/f supercomplex to regulate PSI cyclic electron transport rather than regulation of state transitions through the phosphorylation of LHCII proteins.
Bode R, Ivanov AG, Hüner NPA (2016) The effects of excitation pressure modulated either by light or low temperature on global gene expression in Arabidopsis thaliana: short-term stress versus long-term acclimation. Photosyn Res 128: 287-312. Using a non-targeted, global transcriptomic approach we established a putative gene network which links the chloroplast redox-dependent expression of CBFs, photosynthetic performance, carbon metabolism and grain yield in cereals to the GA biosynthetic pathway and generation of the dwarf phenotype through growth repression by DELLA proteins.
Cvetkovska M, Szyszka-Mroz B, Possmayer M, Pittock P, Lajoie G, Smith DR, Hüner NPA (2018) Characterization of photosynthetic ferredoxin from the Antarctic alga Chlamydomonas sp. UWO241 reveals novel features of cold adaptation. New Phytol 219: 588-604. We show that purified ferredoxin from UWO241 possesses characteristics typical of cold‐adapted enzymes, namely increased structural flexibility and high activity at low temperatures, accompanied by low stability at moderate temperatures. The UWO241 ferredoxin protein, RNA, and DNA sequences were compared with homologous sequences from related organisms. We provide evidence for the duplication of the main ferredoxin gene in the UWO241 nuclear genome and the presence of two highly similar proteins. Our study revealed novel insights into how photosynthesis functions in the cold. The presence of two distinct ferredoxin proteins in UWO241 may provide an adaptive advantage for survival at cold temperatures. Although the primary amino acid sequence of ferredoxin is highly conserved among photosynthetic species, we suggest that the specific but subtle differences in sequence leads to significant changes in activity and stability at low temperatures.
Szyszka-Mroz B, Cvetkovska M, Ivanov AG, Smith DR, Possmayer M, Maxwell DP, Hüner NPA (2019) Plant Physiol 180: 1291-1309. Light-dependent [γ-33P]ATP labeling of thylakoid membranes from Chlamydomonas sp. UWO241 exhibited a distinct low temperature-dependent phosphorylation pattern compared to Chlamydomonas reinhardtii despite comparable levels of the Stt7 protein kinase. The sequence and structure of the UWO241 Stt7 kinase domain exhibits substantial alterations, which predisposes it to be more active at low temperature. Purification of PSII and PSI combined with digitonin fractionation of thylakoid membranes indicated that UWO241 altered its thylakoid membrane architecture and reorganized the distribution of PSI and PSII units between granal and stromal lamellae. This was associated with an upregulation of PSI cyclic electron flow. We conclude that a reorganization of PSII and PSI in UWO241 results in a unique state transition phenomenon through energy spillover that is associated with altered protein phosphorylation, enhanced PSI cyclic electron flow and energy quenching.
Cvetkovska M, Orgnero S, Hüner NPA, Smith DR (2019) The enigmatic loss of light-independent chlorophyll biosynthesis from an Antarctic green alga in a light-limited environment. New Phytol 222: 651-656. Our sequencing, assembly, and annotation of the entire UWO241 chloroplast genome failed to identify the three genes encoding DPOR (chlL,chlN and chlB) from an otherwise standard full set of chloroplast coding regions. Exhaustive searches of our draft nuclear genome and transcriptome sequences also failed to locate the DPOR genes indicating that these genes had not migrated to the nucleus. Living in a permanently ice-covered Lake Bonney, Antarctica with long periods of sustained darkness during 6 months of austral winter, would appear to necessitate an active DPOR. However, the dissolved oxygen concentration in Lake Bonney from which UWO241 was isolated is extremely high. This is significant since DPOR is oxygen-sensitive of the of an iron sulfur cluster in its catalytic site which is necessary for its activity whereas the light-dependent LPOR is insensitive to oxygen. We suggest that the loss of DPOR in UWO may be adaptive due to the high oxygen concentration in Lake Bonney, Antarctica.
ARTICLES IN REFEREED JOURNALS: (since 2013) 1. Hollis L, Trick C, Hüner NPA (2019) Continuous monitoring of growth detects photoperiod–dependent oscillations in growth rates in Chlorella vulgaris. Botany 98: 103-115. 2. Szyszka-Mroz, Cvetkovska M, Ivanov AG, Smith DR, Possmayer M, Maxwell DP, Hüner NPA (2019) Protein kinases of the Antarctic polyextremophile, Chlamydomonas sp. UWO241, confer a distinct protein phosphorylation pattern associated with a remodelling of thylakoid membrane architecture and light energy distribution between photosystem I and photosystem II. Plant Physiol 180: 1291-1309.
- 3. Tran HH, Chen B, Chen H, Menassa R, Hao X, Bernards M, Hüner NPA, Wang A (2019) Development of a cucumber green mottle mosaic virus-based expression vector for the production in cucumber of neutralizing epitopes against a devastating animal virus. J Virol Methods 269: 18-25.
- Hollis L, Ivanov AG, Hüner NPA (2019) Chlorella vulgaris integrates photoperiod and chloroplast redox signals in response to growth at high light. Planta 249: 1189-1205.
- Wang J, Hüner NPA, Tian L (2019) Identification and molecular characterization of the Brachypodium distachyon NRT2 family, with a major role of BdNRT2.1. Physiol Plant 165: 498-510.
- Cvetkovska M, Orgnero S, Hüner NPA, Smith DR (2019) The enigmatic loss of light-independent chlorophyll biosynthesis from an Antarctic green alga in a light-limited environment. New Phytol 222: 651-656.
- Cvetkovska M, Szyszka-Mroz, Possmayer M, Pittock P, Lajoie G, Smith DR, Hüner NPA (2018) Characterization of photosynthetic ferredoxin from the Antarctic alga Chlamydomonas sp. UWO241 reveals novel features of cold adaptation. New Phytol 219: 588-604.
- Kurepin LV, Stangl Z, Ivanov AG, Way D, Hüner NPA, Öquist G, Hurry V (2018) Contrasting acclimation abilities of two dominant northern conifers to elevated CO2 and temperature. Plant Cell Environ 41: 1331-1345.
- Elkhouni A, Rabhi M, Ivanov AG, Krol M, Zorrig W, Smaoui M, Abdelly C, Hüner, NPA, Hawkesford M (2018) Structural and functional integrity of Sulla carnosa photosynthetic apparatus under iron deficiency conditions. Plant Biol 20: 415-425.
- Ivanov AG, Velitchkova MY, Allakhverdiev SI, Hüner NPA (2017) Heat stress induced effects of photosystem I: an overview of structural and functional responses. Photosyn Res 133: 17-30.
- Cvetkovska M, Hüner NPA, Smith DR (2017) Chilling out: Chilling out: the evolution and diversification of psychrophilic algae with a focus on Chlamydomonadales. Polar Biol 40: 1160-1184.
- Hollis L, Hüner NPA (2017) Exposure of high-light-grown cultures of Chlorella vulgaris to darkness inhibits the relaxation of excitation pressure: uncoupling of the redox state of the photosynthetic electron transport chain and phenotypic plasticity. Botany 95: 1125-1140.
13. Farhat N, Rabhi M, Krol M, Barhoumi Z, Ivanov AG, McCarthy A, Abdelly C, Hüner NPA, Smaoui A (2017) Effects of Mg deficiency and subsequent recovery on Sulla carnosa leaves. Agrochemica 61: 317-328.14. Bode R, Ivanov AG, Hüner NPA (2016) The effects of excitation pressure modulated either by light or low temperature on global gene expression in Arabidopsis thaliana: short-term stress versus long-term acclimation. Photosyn Res 128: 287-312.
- Hüner NPA, Dahal, K, Bode R, Kurepin LV, Ivanov AG (2016) Photosynthetic acclimation, vernalization, crop productivity and the ‘grand design of photosynthesis’. J Plant Physiol 203: 29-43. (Invited)
- McCarthy A, Chung M, Ivanov AG, Krol M, Inman M, Maxwell DP, Hüner NPA (2016) An established Arabidopsis thaliana var. Landsberg erecta cell suspension culture accumulates chlorophyll and exhibits a stay-green phenotype in response to high external sucrose concentrations. J Plant Physiol 199: 40-51.
- Possmayer M, Gupta RK, Szyszka-Mroz B, Maxwell DP, Lachance MA, Hüner NPA, Smith DR (2016) Resolving the phylogenetic relationship between Chlamydomonas sp UWO241 and Chlamydomonas raudensis SAG 49.72 (Chlorophyceae) with nuclear and plastid DNA sequences. J Phycol 52: 305-310.
- del PiIlar Flores-Bavestrello A, Król M, Ivanov AG, Hüner NPA, García-Plazaola JI, Corcuera LJ, Bravo LA (2016) Two Hymenophyllaceae species from contrasting natural environments exhibit a homoiochlorophyllous strategy in response to desiccation stress. J Plant Physiol. 191: 82-94
- Szyszka-Mroz B, PittockP, Ivanov A, Lajoie G, Hüner NPA (2015) The Antarctic psychrophile, Chlamydomonas s UWO 241 preferentially phosphorylates a PSI-Cytb6/f supercomplex. Plant Physiol 169: 717-736.
- Kurepin LV, Ivanov AG, Zaman M, Pharis RP, Allakhverdiev SI, Hurry V, Hüner NPA (2015) Stress-related hormones and glycinebetaine interplay in protection of photosynthesis under abiotic stress conditions. Photosynth Res 126: 221-235.
- Kurepin LV, Park JM, Lazarovits G, Hüner NPA (2015) Involvement of plant stress hormones in Burkolderia phytofirmas-induced shoot and root growth promotion. Plant Growth Regulation 77: 179-187.
- Stinziano R, Hüner NPA, Way DA (2015) Warming delays autumn declines in photosynthetic capacity in a boreal conifer, Norway spruce (Picea abies). Tree Physiol 35: 1303-1313.
- Farhat N, Ivanov A, Krol M, Rabhi M, Smaoui A, Abdelly C, Hüner NPA (2015) Preferential damaging effects of limited magnesium bioavailability on photosystem I in Sulla carnosa plants. Planta 241: 1189-1206.
- Hüner NPA, Dahal K, Kurepin LV, Savitch L, Singh J, Ivanov AG, Kane K, Sarhan F (2014) Potential for increased photosynthetic performance and crop productivity in response to climate change: role of CBFs and gibberellic acid. Front. Chem. 2: article 18. (Invited)
- Hollis L, Hüner NPA (2014) Retrograde operational sensing and signalling pathways maintain photostasis in green algae, cyanobacteria and terrestrial plants. Trends Photochem Photobiol.16: 47-61.
- Farhat N, Ivanov AG, Krol M, Hüner NPA, Rabhi M (2014) Starch and sugar accumulation in Sulla carnosa leaves upon Mg2+ starvation. Acta Physiol Plant 36: 2157-2165.
- Dahal K, Knowles V, Plaxton WC, Hüner NPA (2014) Enhancement of photosynthetic performance, water use efficiency and grain yield during long-term growth under elevated CO2 in wheat and rye is growth temperature and cultivar dependent. Environ Exp Bot 106: 207-220.
- Chung DJ, Szyszka B, Brown JCL, Hüner NPA, Staples JF (2013) Changes in the mitochondrial
phosphoproteome during mammalian hibernation. Physiol Genomics 45: 389-399.
- Millaleo R, Reyes-Diaz M, Alberdi M, Ivanov AG, Krol M, Hüner NPA (2013) Excess manganese differentially inhibits photosystem I versus II in Arabidopsis thaliana. J Exp Bot 64: 343-354
- Kane K, Dahal KP, Badawi MA, Houde M, Hüner NPA, Sarhan F (2013) Long-term growth under elevated CO2 suppresses biotic stress genes in non-acclimated, but not cold-acclimated winter wheat. Plant Cell Physiol 54: 1751-1768
- Kurepin L, Dahal K, Savitch L, Singh J, Bode R, Ivanov A, Hurry V, Hüner NPA (2013) Role of CBFs as integrators of chloroplast redox, phytochrome and plant hormone signaling during cold acclimation. Int. J. Mol Sci 14: 12729-12763
- Hüner NPA, Bode R, Dahal K, Busch FA, Possmayer M, Szyzska B, Rosso D, Ensminger I, Krol M, Ivanov AG, Maxwell DP (2013) Shedding some light on cold acclimation, cold adaptation and phenotypic plasticity. Botany 91: 127-136 (Invited- based on CSPB Gold Medal address)
- Neimanis K, Staples JF, Huner NPA, McDonald AE (2013) Identification, expression and taxonomic distribution of alternative oxidases in non-angiosperm plants. Gene doi:10.1016/j.gene.2013.04.072
ARTICLES SUBMITTED FOR PUBLICATION
- Robinson KM, Zsofia R. Stangl ZR, Vergara A, Kurepin LV, Li S, Ivanov AG, Way D, Hüner NPA, Hurry V (2020) Plant Cell Environ
- Ivanov AG, Krol M, Savitch LV, Szyszka-Mroz B, Roche J, Sprott DP, Selstam E, Wilson KW, Gardiner, R, Öquist G, Hurry VM, Hüner NPA (2020) Decreased phosphatidyldiacylglycerol content associated with the pgp1 mutation in Arabidopsis thaliana inhibits chloroplast biogenesis at low growth temperature. Photosyn Res
OTHER REFEREED PUBLICATIONS
Invited Book Chapters
- Hüner NPA, Ivanov AG, Cvetkovska M, Szyszka B, Possmayer M, Porter P (2019) Photosynthetic Acclimation and Adaptation to Cold Ecosystems. Climate change, photosynthesis and advanced biofuels (
Kumar A, Yau Y-Y, Ogita S, Scheibe R, eds) Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd, in press.
- Szyszka, B, Ivanov AG, Hüner NPA (2017) Adaptation to low temperature in a photosynthetic Antarctic psychrophile, Chlamydomonas sp. UWO241. In: Structure, Function and Applications of the Photosynthetic Apparatus (Harvey J.M. Hou, Mahdi M. Najafpour, Gary F. Moore, and Suleyman I. Allakhverdiev, eds), Springer, in press.
- Ivanov AG, Hüner NPA (2017) Environmental control of PSI abundance and photochemistry. In: Structure, Function and Applications of the Photosynthetic Apparatus (Harvey J.M. Hou, Mahdi M. Najafpour, Gary F. Moore, and Suleyman I. Allakhverdiev, eds), Springer, in press.
- Kurepin L, Ivanov AG, Zaman M, Pharis RP, Hurry V, Hüner NPA (2017) Interaction of glycine betaine and plant hormones: protection of the photosynthetic apparatus during abiotic stress. In: Structure, Function and Applications of the Photosynthetic Apparatus (Harvey J.M. Hou, Mahdi M. Najafpour, Gary F. Moore, and Suleyman I. Allakhverdiev, eds), Springer, in press.
- Dahal K, Kane K, Sarhan F, Savitch LV, Singh J, Grodzinski B, Hüner NPA (2014) CBF transcription factors as targets for the maintenance of crop yield under sub-optimal growth conditions. In: Handbook of Plant and Crop Physiology (Pessarakli M ed.), p313-332.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE
Hüner N.P.A., Krol, M., Ivanov, A. and F. Sarhan. 2004. Solar Radiation Protection Composition. US Patent No. 6,787,147l B US Patent awarded Sept 7, 2004.
OTHER EVIDENCE OF IMPACT & CONTRIBUTIONS (43 life-time national and international academic honours and awards) including:
Director, The Biotron Centre for Experimental Climate Change Research – 2018-19
Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Environmental Stress Biology- Jan 2002- Dec 2016
CSPB Gold Medal for life-time research contributions – 2010
International Review Committee Member- Faculty of Science, Australian National University-2010
Thomson ISI Highly Cited Researcher – 2006
Honorary Professor, Xingjang University, China – 2005
International Review Committee Member-Honorary Doctorates- Marie Curie Sklodowska Univ., Poland
Scientific Director, The Biotron Centre for Experimental Climate Change Research – 2003-2008
Expert Witness, House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology – 2008
Distinguished Ontario Researcher – 2003
International Review Committee Member-Frontiers in Polar Biology-Natl. Acad. of Sciences, USA-2001
President, Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists- 2001-2003
Honorary Doctorate (FD hc), Umeå University, Sweden- 1999
Department Chair, Plant Sciences (UWO) – 1998-2002
Director, Life Sciences Div., Acad III, Royal Society of Canada- 1996-2000
Elected Fellow, Academy of Science, Royal Society of Canada- 1995
Distinguished Research Professor (UWO) – 1993
NSERC Grant Selection Committee Member (GSC03)- 1988-1991
NSERC Strategic Grant Selection Committee Member (Agriculture)- 1992-1994
Florence Bucke Science Prize (UWO) – 1989
CD Nelson Award (CSPB) – 1987
NSERC University Research Fellow – 1981-1991