PerspectiveOcean Science

Microbial proteins and oceanic nutrient cycles

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Science  05 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6201, pp. 1120-1121
DOI: 10.1126/science.1258133

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Marine microbes play a central role in the biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron. The processes that control these complex cycles range from subcellular metabolism to the properties and dynamics of whole oceanic regions. Two studies in this issue provide further insight into how fundamental biological processes affect biogeochemical cycles in the oceans. On page 1173, Saito et al. (1) show how nutrient availability drives large-scale patterns in the abundances of nutrient-related proteins. The catalytic site in one such protein, reported on page 1170 by Yong et al. (2), suggests a potential biochemical linkage between two key nutrient cycles.