DNA-free two-gene knockout in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii via CRISPR-Cas9 ribonucleoproteins

Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 28;6:30620. doi: 10.1038/srep30620.


Microalgae are versatile organisms capable of converting CO2, H2O, and sunlight into fuel and chemicals for domestic and industrial consumption. Thus, genetic modifications of microalgae for enhancing photosynthetic productivity, and biomass and bio-products generation are crucial for both academic and industrial applications. However, targeted mutagenesis in microalgae with CRISPR-Cas9 is limited. Here we report, a one-step transformation of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii by the DNA-free CRISPR-Cas9 method rather than plasmids that encode Cas9 and guide RNAs. Outcome was the sequential CpFTSY and ZEP two-gene knockout and the generation of a strain constitutively producing zeaxanthin and showing improved photosynthetic productivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algal Proteins / genetics
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems*
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / genetics*
  • Gene Knockout Techniques / methods*
  • Metabolic Engineering
  • Photosynthesis
  • Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism*
  • Zeaxanthins / metabolism


  • Algal Proteins
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • Zeaxanthins