Light remodels lipid biosynthesis in Nannochloropsis gaditana by modulating carbon partitioning between organelles

Alessandro Alboresi, Giorgio Perin, Nicola Vitulo, Gianfranco Diretto, Maryse Block, Juliette Jouhet, Andrea Meneghesso, Giorgio Valle, Giovanni Giuliano, Eric Maréchal, Tomas Morosinotto

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The seawater microalga Nannochloropsis gaditana is capable of accumulating a large fraction of reduced carbon as lipids. To clarify the molecular bases of this metabolic feature, we investigated light-driven lipid biosynthesis in Nannochloropsis gaditana cultures combining the analysis of photosynthetic functionality with transcriptomic, lipidomic and metabolomic approaches. Light-dependent alterations are observed in amino acid, isoprenoid, nucleic acid, and vitamin biosynthesis, suggesting a deep remodeling in the microalgal metabolism triggered by photoadaptation. In particular, high light intensity is shown to affect lipid biosynthesis, inducing the accumulation of diacylglyceryl-N,N,N-trimethylhomo-Ser and triacylglycerols, together with the up-regulation of genes involved in their biosynthesis. Chloroplast polar lipids are instead decreased. This situation correlates with the induction of genes coding for a putative cytosolic fatty acid synthase of type 1 (FAS1) and polyketide synthase (PKS) and the down-regulation of the chloroplast fatty acid synthase of type 2 (FAS2). Lipid accumulation is accompanied by the regulation of triose phosphate/inorganic phosphate transport across the chloroplast membranes, tuning the carbon metabolic allocation between cell compartments, favoring the cytoplasm, mitochondrion, and endoplasmic reticulum at the expense of the chloroplast. These results highlight the high flexibility of lipid biosynthesis in N. gaditana and lay the foundations for a hypothetical mechanism of regulation of primary carbon partitioning by controlling metabolite allocation at the subcellular level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2468 - 2482
Number of pages15
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

Cite this

Alboresi, A., Perin, G., Vitulo, N., Diretto, G., Block, M., Jouhet, J., Meneghesso, A., Valle, G., Giuliano, G., Maréchal, E., & Morosinotto, T. (2016). Light remodels lipid biosynthesis in Nannochloropsis gaditana by modulating carbon partitioning between organelles. Plant Physiology, 171(4), 2468 - 2482.