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[Online ahead of print]

CrABCA2 Facilitates Triacylglycerol Accumulation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Under Nitrogen Starvation

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CrABCA2 Facilitates Triacylglycerol Accumulation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Under Nitrogen Starvation

Sunghoon Jang et al. Mol Cells.

Abstract

The microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii accumulates triacylglycerols (TAGs) in lipid droplets under stress conditions, such as nitrogen starvation. TAG biosynthesis occurs mainly at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and requires fatty acid (FA) substrates supplied from chloroplasts. How FAs are transferred from chloroplast to ER in microalgae was unknown. We previously reported that an Arabidopsis thaliana ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter, AtABCA9, facilitates FA transport at the ER during seed development. Here we identified a gene homologous to AtABCA9 in the C. reinhardtii genome, which we named CrABCA2. Under nitrogen deprivation conditions, CrABCA2 expression was upregulated, and the CrABCA2 protein level also increased. CrABCA2 knockdown lines accumulated less TAGs and CrABCA2 overexpression lines accumulated more TAGs than their untransformed parental lines. Transmission electron microscopy showed that CrABCA2 was localized in swollen ER. These results suggest that CrABCA2 transports substrates for TAG biosynthesis to the ER during nitrogen starvation . Our study provides a potential tool for increasing lipid production in microalgae.

Keywords: ABC transporter; Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; endoplasmic reticulum; triacylglycerol accumulation.

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