Identification, characterization, and expression of diacylgylcerol acyltransferase type-1 from Chlorella vulgaris

authored by
Thomas Reinard, Carolyn W.T. Lee-Parsons, Linda Kirchner, Erin J. Cram
Abstract

The green microalga Chlorella vulgaris can be induced to rapidly accumulate oil (40% by dry weight) with a biodiesel profile that is high in saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. In this study, we sequenced the diacylglycerol acyltransferase type-1 from C. vulgaris (CvuDGAT1), which catalyzes the last step in triacylglycerol (TAG) biosynthesis, and characterized this protein using bioinformatics and functional expression assays in a yeast mutant. The CvuDGAT1 protein (460aa) shares motifs characteristic of other plant and microalga DGAT1s, including the binding domains for the acyl-CoA and diacylglycerol substrates and the putative active site. In addition, we report the first putative tertiary structure of DGAT1. This model shows that CvuDGAT1 is integrated into the ER membrane and predicts the proximity of the substrate-binding domains and the active site, despite being widely separated in the protein sequence. We also demonstrate CvuDGAT1's function in TAG biosynthesis by expressing the gene and restoring oil levels in a non-oil-producing yeast mutant. Interestingly, unlike Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, the CvuDGAT1 gene is constitutively expressed at high levels and may contribute to this species' ability to accumulate high levels of oil (i.e. 40% by dry weight).

Organisation(s)
Section Plant Biotechnology
External Organisation(s)
Northeastern University
Type
Article
Journal
Algal Research
Pages
167-181
ISSN
2211-9264
Publication date
2016
Publication status
Published
Peer reviewed
Yes
Electronic version(s)
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.algal.2015.10.017 (Access: Restricted)