Over-expression of Dof-type transcription factor increases lipid production in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
•Currently there are no reports of Dof-type transcription factors expressed in microalgae.•The genetically modified strains accumulated higher amount of lipids compared with the WT strain.•The strains did not show notable changes in the fatty acid profile.•These strains can be used in the production of biofuels.
The high demand for less polluting, newer, and cheaper fuel resources has increased the search of the most innovative options for the production of the so-called biofuels. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a photosynthetic unicellular algae with multiple biotechnological advantages such as easy handling in the laboratory, a simple scale-up to industrial levels, as well as a feasible genetic modification at nuclear and chloroplast levels. Besides, its fatty acids can be used to produce biofuels. Previous studies in plants have found that the over expression of DOF-type transcription factor genes increases the synthesis and the accumulation of total lipids in seeds. In this context, the over-expression of a DOF-type transcription factor in C. reinhardtii was applied as approach to increase the amount of lipids. The results indicate higher amounts (around 2-fold) of total lipids, which are mainly fatty acids, in the genetically C. reinhardtii modified strains when compared with the non-genetically modified strain. In order to elucidate the possible function of the introduced Dof-type transcription factor, we performed a transcription profile of 8 genes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis and 6 genes involved in glycerolipid biosynthesis, by quantitative real time (qRT-PCR). Differential expression profile was observed, which can explain the increase in lipid accumulation. However, these strains did not show notable changes in the fatty acid profile. This work represents an early effort in generating a strategy to increase fatty acids production in C. reinhardtii and their use in biofuel synthesis.
Journal: Journal of Biotechnology - Volume 184, 20 August 2014, Pages 27–38