Detection and characterization of phosphatidylcholine in various strains of the genus Chlamydomonas (Volvocales, Chlorophyceae)

J Plant Res. 2014 Sep;127(5):641-50. doi: 10.1007/s10265-014-0644-0. Epub 2014 Jun 20.


The laboratory strains of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii have been reported to contain no phosphatidylcholine (PC), which is considered to be replaced by another zwitterionic lipid, diacylglyceryl-N,N,N-trimethylhomoserine (DGTS). According to the recently published classification, the strains belonged to the subgroup Reinhardtinia. Screening for PC in 13 selected strains of Chlamydomonas in the NIES Algal Collection, which are different in habitats and belong to different phylogenetic subgroups in the genus, revealed the presence of PC in four strains: a strain in the subgroup Polytominia, and three strains in Reinhardtinia. PC was not detected in three other strains of Reinhardtinia analyzed. The presence/absence of PC was not related to the phylogenetic relationship based on 18S rRNA. DGTS was detected in all the strains analyzed. The rare isomer of linolenic acid, 18:3(5,9,12), which has been found in the DGTS of C. reinhardtii, was found in the PC of the two strains and in the DGTS of the five strains. The occurrence of this fatty acid seems limited to a branch of Reinhardtinia. Acquisition and loss of PC in various strains of Chlamydomonas are discussed from the viewpoint of evolution of PC biosynthetic pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / chemistry*
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / classification
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Phosphatidylcholines / chemistry*
  • Phosphatidylcholines / metabolism*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Phosphatidylcholines