Elevated Inorganic Carbon Concentrating Mechanism Confers Tolerance to High Light in an Arctic Chlorella sp. ArM0029B.
ABSTRACT: Microalgae and higher plants employ an inorganic carbon (Ci) concentrating mechanism (CCM) to increase CO2 availability to Rubisco. Operation of the CCM should enhance the activity of the Calvin cycle, which could act as an electron sink for electrons generated by photosynthesis, and lower the redox status of photosynthetic electron transport chains. In this study, a hypothesis that microalgal cells with fully operating CCM are less likely to be photodamaged was tested by comparing a Chlorella mutant with its wild type (WT). The mutant acquired by screening gamma-ray-induced mutant libraries of Chlorella sp. ArM0029B exhibited constitutively active CCM (CAC) even in the presence of additional Ci sources under mixotrophic growth conditions. In comparison to the WT alga, the mutant named to constitutively active CCM1 (CAC1) showed more transcript levels for genes coding proteins related to CCM such as Ci transporters and carbonic anhydrases (CA), and greater levels of intracellular Ci content and CA activity regardless of whether growth is limited by light or not. Under photoinhibitory conditions, CAC1 mutant showed faster growth than WT cells with more PSII reaction center core component D1 protein (encoded by psbA), higher photochemical efficiency as estimated by the chlorophyll fluorescence parameter (Fv/Fm), and fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS). Interestingly, high light (HL)-induced increase in ROS contents in WT cells was significantly inhibited by bicarbonate supplementation. It is concluded that constitutive operation of CCM endows Chlorella cells with resistance to HL partly by reducing the endogenous generation of ROS. These results will provide useful information on the interaction between CCM expression, ROS production, and photodamage in Chlorella and related microalgae.
Project description:Background:Microalgae are efficient producers of lipid-rich biomass, making them a key component in developing a sustainable energy source, and an alternative to fossil fuels. Chlorella species are of special interest because of their fast growth rate in photobioreactors. However, biological constraints still cast a significant gap between the high cost of biofuel and cheap oil, thus hampering perspective of producing CO2-neutral biofuels. A key issue is the inefficient use of light caused by its uneven distribution in the culture that generates photoinhibition of the surface-exposed cells and darkening of the inner layers. Efficient biofuel production, thus, requires domestication, including traits which reduce optical density of cultures and enhance photoprotection. Results:We applied two steps of mutagenesis and phenotypic selection to the microalga Chlorella vulgaris. First, a pale-green mutant (PG-14) was selected, with a 50% reduction of both chlorophyll content per cell and LHCII complement per PSII, with respect to WT. PG-14 showed a 30% increased photon conversion into biomass efficiency vs. WT. A second step of mutagenesis of PG-14, followed by selection for higher tolerance to Rose Bengal, led to the isolation of pale-green genotypes, exhibiting higher resistance to singlet oxygen (strains SOR). Growth in photobioreactors under high light conditions showed an enhanced biomass production of SOR strains with respect to PG-14. When compared to WT strain, biomass yield of the pale green + sor genotype was enhanced by 68%. Conclusions:Domestication of microalgae like Chlorella vulgaris, by optimizing both light distribution and ROS resistance, yielded an enhanced carbon assimilation rate in photobioreactor.
Project description:Many photosynthetic microorganisms acclimate to CO(2) limited environments by induction and operation of CO(2)-concentrating mechanisms (CCMs). Despite their central role in CCM function, inorganic carbon (Ci) transport systems never have been identified in eukaryotic photosynthetic organisms. In the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a mutant, pmp1, was described in 1983 with deficiencies in Ci transport, and a Pmp1 protein-associated Ci uptake system has been proposed to be responsible for Ci uptake in low CO(2) (air level)-acclimated cells. However, even though pmp1 represents the only clear genetic link to Ci transport in microalgae and is one of only a very few mutants directly affecting the CCM itself, the identity of Pmp1 has remained unknown. Physiological analyses indicate that C. reinhardtii possesses multiple Ci transport systems responsible for acclimation to different levels of limiting CO(2) and that the Pmp1-associated transport system is required specifically for low (air level) CO(2) acclimation. In the current study, we identified and characterized a pmp1 allelic mutant, air dier 1 (ad1) that, like pmp1, cannot grow in low CO(2) (350 ppm) but can grow either in high CO(2) (5% CO(2)) or in very low CO(2) (<200 ppm). Molecular analyses revealed that the Ad1/Pmp1 protein is encoded by LciB, a gene previously identified as a CO(2)-responsive gene. LciB and three related genes in C. reinhardtii compose a unique gene family that encode four closely related, apparently soluble plastid proteins with no clearly identifiable conserved motifs.
Project description:Chlorella vulgaris is a fast-growing fresh-water microalga cultivated on the industrial scale for applications ranging from food to biofuel production. To advance our understanding of its biology and to establish genetics tools for biotechnological manipulation, we sequenced the nuclear and organelle genomes of Chlorella vulgaris 211/11P by combining next generation sequencing and optical mapping of isolated DNA molecules. This hybrid approach allowed us to assemble the nuclear genome in 14 pseudo-molecules with an N50 of 2.8 Mb and 98.9% of scaffolded genome. The integration of RNA-seq data obtained at two different irradiances of growth (high light, HL versus low light, LL) enabled us to identify 10 724 nuclear genes, coding for 11 082 transcripts. Moreover, 121 and 48 genes, respectively, were found in the chloroplast and mitochondrial genome. Functional annotation and expression analysis of nuclear, chloroplast and mitochondrial genome sequences revealed particular features of Chlorella vulgaris. Evidence of horizontal gene transfers from chloroplast to mitochondrial genome was observed. Furthermore, comparative transcriptomic analyses of LL versus HL provided insights into the molecular basis for metabolic rearrangement under HL versus LL conditions leading to enhanced de novo fatty acid biosynthesis and triacylglycerol accumulation. The occurrence of a cytosolic fatty acid biosynthetic pathway could be predicted and its upregulation upon HL exposure was observed, consistent with the increased lipid amount under HL conditions. These data provide a rich genetic resource for future genome editing studies, and potential targets for biotechnological manipulation of Chlorella vulgaris or other microalgae species to improve biomass and lipid productivity.
Project description:Photosynthesis of microalgae enables conversion of light energy into chemical energy to produce biomass and biomaterials. However, the efficiency of this process must be enhanced, and truncation of light-harvesting complex (LHC) has been suggested to improve photosynthetic efficiency. We reported an EMS-induced mutant (E5) showing partially reduced LHC in Chlorella vulgaris. We determined the mutation by sequencing the whole genome of WT and E5. Augustus gene prediction was used for determining CDS, and non-synonymous changes in E5 were screened. Among these, we found a point mutation (T to A) in a gene homologous to chloroplast signal recognition particle 43?kDa (CpSRP43). The point mutation changed the 102nd valine to glutamic acid (V102E) located in the first chromodomain. Phylogenetic analyses of CpSRP43 revealed that this amino acid was valine or isoleucine in microalgae and plants, suggesting important functions. Transformation of E5 with WT CpSRP43 showed varying degrees of complementation, which was demonstrated by partial recovery of the LHCII proteins to the WT level, and partially restored photosynthetic pigments, photosynthetic ETR, NPQ, and growth, indicating that the V102E mutation was responsible for the reduced LHC in E5.
Project description:The biomass yield of Chlorella PY-ZU1 drastically increased when cultivated under high CO2 condition compared with that cultivated under air condition. However, less attention has been given to the microalgae photosynthetic mechanisms response to different CO2 concentrations. The genetic reasons for the higher growth rate, CO2 fixation rate, and photosynthetic efficiency of microalgal cells under higher CO2 concentration have not been clearly defined yet.In this study, the Illumina sequencing and de novo transcriptome assembly of Chlorella PY-ZU1 cells cultivated under 15% CO2 were performed and compared with those of cells grown under air. It was found that carbonic anhydrase (CAs, enzyme for interconversion of bicarbonate to CO2) dramatically decreased to near 0 in 15% CO2-grown cells, which indicated that CO2 molecules directly permeated into cells under high CO2 stress without CO2-concentrating mechanism. Extrapolating from the growth conditions and quantitative Real-Time PCR of CCM-related genes, the Km (CO2) (the minimum intracellular CO2 concentration that rubisco required) of Chlorella PY-ZU1 might be in the range of 80-192 ?M. More adenosine triphosphates was saved for carbon fixation-related pathways. The transcript abundance of rubisco (the most important enzyme of CO2 fixation reaction) was 16.3 times higher in 15% CO2-grown cells than that under air. Besides, the transcript abundances of most key genes involved in carbon fixation pathways were also enhanced in 15% CO2-grown cells.Carbon fixation and nitrogen metabolism are the two most important metabolisms in the photosynthetic cells. These genes related to the two most metabolisms with significantly differential expressions were beneficial for microalgal growth (2.85 g L-1) under 15% CO2 concentration. Considering the micro and macro growth phenomena of Chlorella PY-ZU1 under different concentrations of CO2 (0.04-60%), CO2 transport pathways responses to different CO2 (0.04-60%) concentrations was reconstructed.
Project description:A multitude of human nutritional supplements based on Chlorella vulgaris biomass has recently been introduced to the specialty food market. In this study, an analysis of total folate contents in Chlorella sp. and a series of marine microalgae was conducted to evaluate folate content in alternative algae-based food production strains. For the first time, total folate content and vitamer distribution in microalgae were analyzed by stable isotope dilution assay (SIDA) using LC-MS/MS, which has demonstrated its superiority with respect to folate quantification. Consistently, high folate contents were detected in all examined microalgae samples. High folate concentrations of 3,460 ± 134 ?g/100 g dry biomass were detected in freshly cultivated Chlorella vulgaris, notably also in other well-researched microalgae strains. To that end, the highest folate content currently documented for any algae sample was measured in the marine microalgae Picochlorum sp. isolate with values of 6,470 ± 167 ?g/100 g dry biomass. This calls for alternative products based on other algae biomass. Our data indicate that freshwater and marine microalgae provide extremely high concentrations of folates, which warrant further studies on the regulation of pteroylpolyglutamates in algae as well as on bioaccessibility, absorption, and retention in humans.
Project description:The general acclimation of cyanobacteria to low carbon (LC) conditions includes coordinated alterations of gene expression and metabolism. To analyze possible signals for LC sensing and compensating reactions, we compared wild-type (WT) cells with two mutants of Synechocystis, the carboxysome-less mutant ccmM and the photorespiratory mutant ΔglcD1/D2. Metabolic phenotyping revealed that the mutant ΔccmM accumulated high 2-phosphoglycolate (2PG) levels while the ΔglcD1/D2 mutant accumulated glycolate, indicating oxygenase activity of RubisCO at high carbon (HC). The changes in the metabolite spectrum were compared to alterations in the global gene expression pattern. Cells of HC-grown mutants ΔccmM and ΔglcD1/D2 showed altered mRNA levels for many genes involved in photosynthesis, high light stress, and N-assimilation, while LC-specific genes such as those for inorganic carbon (Ci) transporters were not increased. After a shift to LC, mutant ΔglcD1/D2 revealed gene expression changes similar to WT cells, while mutant ΔccmM showed no differential expression of most LC-induced genes under identical conditions. In fact, none of the genes for Ci transporters or other components of the carbon concentrating mechanism (CCM) displayed higher transcript levels in the ΔccmM mutant. This finding renders a direct role for 2PG as a metabolic signal component for the induction of CCM during LC acclimation less likely. Because, the transcription pattern of ΔglcD1/D2 under LC showed specific differences compared to WT, a potential role for glycolate as a signal molecule that may trigger expression of parts of the CCM is proposed. Transcriptional profiling of carboxysomal and photorespiratory mutants of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 under high carbon (HC) and low carbon (LC) conditions relative to the wildtype response.
Project description:The signaling molecule cyclic AMP (cAMP) is a ubiquitous second messenger that enables cells to detect and respond to extracellular signals. cAMP is generated by the enzyme adenylyl cyclase, which is activated or inhibited by the Galpha subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins in response to ligand-activated G-protein-coupled receptors. Here we identified the unique gene (CAC1) encoding adenylyl cyclase in the opportunistic fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. The CAC1 gene was disrupted by transformation and homologous recombination. In stark contrast to the situation for Saccharomyces cerevisiae, in which adenylyl cyclase is essential, C. neoformans cac1 mutant strains were viable and had no vegetative growth defect. Furthermore, cac1 mutants maintained the yeast-like morphology of wild-type cells, in contrast to the constitutively filamentous phenotype found upon the loss of adenylyl cyclase in another basidiomycete pathogen, Ustilago maydis. Like C. neoformans mutants lacking the Galpha protein Gpal, cac1 mutants were mating defective and failed to produce two inducible virulence factors: capsule and melanin. As a consequence, cac1 mutant strains were avirulent in animal models of cryptococcal meningitis. Reintroduction of the wild-type CAC1 gene or the addition of exogenous cAMP suppressed cac1 mutant phenotypes. Moreover, the overexpression of adenylyl cyclase restored mating and virulence factor production in gpal mutant strains. Physiological studies revealed that the Galpha protein Gpa1 and adenylyl cyclase controlled cAMP production in response to glucose, and no cAMP was detectable in extracts from cac1 or gpa1 mutant strains. These findings provide direct evidence that Gpal and adenylyl cyclase function in a conserved signal transduction pathway controlling cAMP production, hyphal differentiation, and virulence of this human fungal pathogen.
Project description:Microalgae are one of the most promising renewable energy sources with environmental sustainability. The surface free energy of microalgal cells determines their biofouling and bioflocculation behavior and hence plays an important role in microalgae cultivation and harvesting. To date, the surface energetic properties of microalgal cells are still rarely studied. We developed a novel spectrophotometric method for directly determining the surface free energy of microalgal cells. The principles of this method are based on analyzing colloidal stability of microalgae suspensions. We have shown that this method can effectively differentiate the surface free energy of four microalgal strains, i.e., marine Chlorella sp., marine Nannochloris oculata, freshwater autotrophic Chlorella sp., and freshwater heterotrophic Chlorella sp. With advantages of high-throughput and simplicity, this new spectrophotometric method has the potential to evolve into a standard method for measuring the surface free energy of cells and abiotic particles.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Microalgae, with the ability to mitigate CO(2) emission and produce carbohydrates and lipids, are considered one of the most promising resources for producing bioenergy. Recently, we discovered that autophagy plays a critical role in the metabolism of photosynthetic system and lipids production. So far, more than 30-autophagy related (ATG) genes in all subtypes of autophagy have been identified. However, compared with yeast and mammals, in silico and experimental research of autophagy pathways in microalgae remained limited and fragmentary.<h4>Principal findings</h4>In this article, we performed a genome-wide analysis of ATG genes in 7 microalgae species and explored their distributions, domain structures and evolution. Eighteen "core autophagy machinery" proteins, four mammalian-specific ATG proteins and more than 30 additional proteins (including "receptor-adaptor" complexes) in all subtypes of autophagy were analyzed. Data revealed that receptor proteins in cytoplasm-to-vacuole targeting and mitophagy seem to be absent in microalgae. However, most of the "core autophagy machinery" and mammalian-specific proteins are conserved among microalgae, except for the ATG9-cycling system in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and the second ubiquitin-like protein conjugation complex in several algal species. The catalytic and binding residues in ATG3, ATG5, ATG7, ATG8, ATG10 and ATG12 are also conserved and the phylogenetic tree of ATG8 coincides well with the phylogenies. Chlorella contains the entire set of the core autophagy machinery. In addition, RT-PCR analysis verified that all crucial ATG genes tested are expressed during autophagy in both Chlorella and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Finally, we discovered that addition of 3-Methyladenine (a PI3K specific inhibitor) could suppress the formation of autophagic vacuoles in Chlorella.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Taken together, Chlorella may represent a potential model organism to investigate autophagy pathways in photosynthetic eukaryotes. The study will not only promote understanding of the general features of autophagic pathways, but also benefit the production of Chlorella-derived biofuel with future commercial applications.