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Lina-Juana Dolch

Glycerolipid metabolism and regulation in Phaeodactylum tricornutum and Nannochloropsis gaditana

Published on 5 December 2016

Thesis presented December 05, 2016

Phaeodactylum and Nannochloropsis are photosynthetic model species for glycerolipid metabolism, standing out by an enrichment of very-long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (VLC-PUFAs) and high contents of neutral lipids such as triacylglycerol (TAG). Lipid profiles are influenced by environmental factors. We characterized the lipid remodeling occurring in Phaeodactylum in response to nitrogen and phosphate starvation. Nutrient limitations induce neutral lipid accumulation, which may be exploited as biofuels. We identified new triggers of TAG accumulation and investigated a potential role of nitric oxide (NO) as second messenger in the regulation of neutral lipid levels. We conclude that in dependence of the production site, NO serves as a signaling molecule for critical life conditions and thereby triggers TAG accumulation.
VLC-PUFAs are produced by ER-located elongases and desaturases. We identified a novel class of elongases, called Δ0-ELOs, acting on saturated fatty acids, most importantly 16:0. Knock out of Δ0-ELO1 in Nannochloropsis resulted in reduced monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) levels. MGDG is the major chloroplast lipid. This indicated a role of this initial elongase in fatty acid fate determination and thus in the elusive “omega pathway” for VLC-PUFA trafficking. We have started to investigate the “omega pathway” by reverse genetic approaches and analyses of low-temperature induced lipid remodelling in Nannochloropsis. Diacylglyceryl hydroxymethyltrimethyl-β-serine (DGTS) appears most likely at the base for the chloroplast import of VLC-PUFA, following a dynamically regulated DGTS-to-MGDG pathway. Additionally, we gave insights into possible functions of MGDG and VLC-PUFA in photoprotection and regulation of membrane fluidity.

glycerolipid, Phaeodactylum, lipid, elongation, EPA

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