Phospholipid:Diacylglycerol acyltransferase is a multifunctional enzyme involved in membrane lipid turnover and degradation while synthesizing triacylglycerol in the unicellular green microalga chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Kangsup Yoon, Danxiang Han, Yantao Li, Milton Sommerfeld, Qiang Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

175 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many unicellular microalgae produce large amounts (~20 to 50% of cell dry weight) of triacylglycerols (TAGs) under stress (e.g., nutrient starvation and high light), but the synthesis and physiological role of TAG are poorly understood. We present detailed genetic, biochemical, functional, and physiological analyses of phospholipid:diacylglycerol acyltransferase (PDAT) in the green microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, which catalyzes TAG synthesis via two pathways: transacylation of diacylglycerol (DAG) with acyl groups from phospholipids and galactolipids and DAG:DAG transacylation. We demonstrate that PDAT also possesses acyl hydrolase activities using TAG, phospholipids, galactolipids, and cholesteryl esters as substrates. Artificial microRNA silencing of PDAT in C. reinhardtii alters the membrane lipid composition, reducing the maximum specific growth rate. The data suggest that PDAT-mediated membrane lipid turnover and TAG synthesis is essential for vigorous growth under favorable culture conditions and for membrane lipid degradation with concomitant production of TAG for survival under stress. The strong lipase activity of PDAT with broad substrate specificity suggests that this enzyme could be a potential biocatalyst for industrial lipid hydrolysis and conversion, particularly for biofuel production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3708-3724
Number of pages17
JournalPlant Cell
Volume24
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

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