Enhanced genetic tools for engineering multigene traits into green algae

PLoS One. 2014 Apr 7;9(4):e94028. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094028. eCollection 2014.


Transgenic microalgae have the potential to impact many diverse biotechnological industries including energy, human and animal nutrition, pharmaceuticals, health and beauty, and specialty chemicals. However, major obstacles to sophisticated genetic and metabolic engineering in algae have been the lack of well-characterized transformation vectors to direct engineered gene products to specific subcellular locations, and the inability to robustly express multiple nuclear-encoded transgenes within a single cell. Here we validate a set of genetic tools that enable protein targeting to distinct subcellular locations, and present two complementary methods for multigene engineering in the eukaryotic green microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The tools described here will enable advanced metabolic and genetic engineering to promote microalgae biotechnology and product commercialization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / genetics*
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Genetic Enhancement
  • Transgenes

Grant support

This work was supported the by the Department of Energy (DE-EE0003373), the California Energy Commission (CILMSF #500-10-039) and Life Technologies. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.