Optimizing microalgal biofuel production using metabolic engineering tools requires an in-depth understanding of the structure-function relationship of genes involved in lipid biosynthetic pathway. In the present study, genome-wide identification and characterization of 398 putative genes involved in lipid biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, Volvox carteri, Ostreococcus lucimarinus, Ostreococcus tauri and Cyanidioschyzon merolae was undertaken on the basis of their conserved motif/domain organization and phylogenetic profile. The results indicated that the core lipid metabolic pathways in all the species are carried out by a comparable number of orthologous proteins. Although the fundamental gene organizations were observed to be invariantly conserved between microalgae and Arabidopsis genome, with increased order of genome complexity there seems to be an association with more number of genes involved in triacylglycerol (TAG) biosynthesis and catabolism. Further, phylogenomic analysis of the genes provided insights into the molecular evolution of lipid biosynthetic pathway in microalgae and confirm the close evolutionary proximity between the Streptophyte and Chlorophyte lineages. Together, these studies will improve our understanding of the global lipid metabolic pathway and contribute to the engineering of regulatory networks of algal strains for higher accumulation of oil.
Keywords: biofuel; bioinformatics; lipid biosynthetic genes; microalgae; phylogenomics.