Deletion of BSG1 in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii leads to abnormal starch granule size and morphology

Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 13;9(1):1990. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-39506-6.


Chlamydomonas reinhardtii represents an ideal model microbial system to decipher starch metabolism. In this green algae, in cells growing in photosynthetic conditions, starch mainly accumulates as a sheath surrounding the pyrenoid while in cells subjected to a nutrient starvation, numerous starch granules are filling up the plastid stroma. The mechanisms underlying and regulating this switch from photosynthetic to storage starch metabolisms are not known. In this work, we have isolated a Chlamydomonas mutant strain containing a deletion in chromosome 2 which displays abnormal starch granule distribution. Under nitrogen starvation, this strain contains an additional starch granules population. These granules are twice as big as the wild-type granules and display characteristics of photosynthetic starch. Genetic and functional complementation analyses allowed us to identify the gene responsible for this original phenotype which was called BSG1 for "Bimodal Starch Granule". Possible roles of BSG1 in starch metabolism modifications during the transition from photosynthetic to starved growth conditions are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / genetics*
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / metabolism*
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / chemistry
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / genetics*
  • Photosynthesis / physiology
  • Starch / metabolism*
  • Starvation / pathology


  • Starch