The differential display method was used to isolate cDNAs corresponding to transcripts that accumulate during the period of lipid synthesis, 12-20 weeks after anthesis (WAA) in the mesocarp of two oil palms, Elaeis oleifera and Elaeis guineensis, Tenera. DNA-free total RNA from mesocarp and kernel of E. guineensis, Tenera and E. oleifera (15 WAA) were used to obtain differential gene expression patterns between these tissues from the two species. In this report, we describe the isolation and characterization of a specific cDNA clone, MO1 (434 bp) which was shown to be mesocarp-specific as well as species-specific for E. oleifera Sequencing of this fragment showed homology to the enzyme sesquiterpene synthase. Its longer cDNA clone, pMO1 (1072 bp), isolated from a 15-week E. oleifera mesocarp cDNA library confirmed that it encodes for sesquiterpene synthase. The complete sequence of 1976 bp was obtained using 5'RACE method. Northern hybridization showed that MO1 and pMO1 mRNA transcripts are highly expressed only in the mesocarp of E. oleifera from 5 to 20 WAA. No expression was detected in the kernel (12-17 WAA) and vegetative tissues of both species nor in the mesocarp of E. guineensis. This is the first communication to document on the isolation and characterisation of a mesocarp-and species-specific cDNA clone from oil palm.
The mRNA differential display method was used to identify and isolate cDNAs corresponding to transcripts that accumulate during the period of lipid synthesis, 12-20 weeks after anthesis (WAA) in the kernel of Elaeis guineensis, var. Tenera. We successfully isolated two cDNA clones, KT7 (312 bp) and KT8 (266 bp). Interestingly, both clones show 79% nucleotide sequence identity to each other. This suggests that both clones encode the isoforms of the same protein. We screened the kernel (15 WAA) cDNA library and isolated the clone pKT7 (587 bp) using KT7 as probe, and isolated another isoform with KT8 probe, which designated as pKT9 (900 bp). Clone pKT9 has 93% nucleotide identity to KT8 and only 46% to pKT7 in their 3'-untranslated region. All three clones displayed significant amino acid sequence identity to seed storage protein glutelin from monocotyledon and globulin from dicotyledon plants. The coding sequence of KT8 (106 bp) shows 76 and 97% identity to pKT9 and pKT7, respectively. Therefore, we suggest that clones KT8 and pKT7 are members of the same subfamily (A), while pKT9 belongs to another subfamily (B) of glutelin multigene families. Southern analysis shows that there are at least four members for the subfamily B. Northern analysis shows that these three members of the glutelin family are co-ordinately expressed and developmentally regulated during the development of the kernel. The transcripts begin to accumulate at 12 WAA, increase in 15 WAA and show a significant reduction at 17 WAA.
Eleusine indica is one of the most common weed species found in agricultural land worldwide. Although herbicide-glyphosate provides good control of the weed, its frequent uses has led to abundant reported cases of resistance. Hence, the development of genetic markers for quick detection of glyphosate-resistance in E. indica population is imperative for the control and management of the weed. In this study, a total of 14 specific random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers were identified and two of the markers, namely S4R727 and S26R6976 were further sequence characterized. Sequence alignment revealed that marker S4R727 showing a 12-bp nucleotides deletion in resistant biotypes, while marker S26R6976 contained a 167-bp nucleotides insertion in the resistant biotypes. Based on these sequence differences, three pairs of new sequence characterized amplified region (SCAR) primers were developed. The specificity of these primer pairs were further validated with genomic DNA extracted from ten individual plants of one glyphosate-susceptible and five glyphosate-resistant (R2, R4, R6, R8 and R11) populations. The resulting RAPD-SCAR markers provided the basis for assessing genetic diversity between glyphosate-susceptible and -resistant E. indica biotypes, as well for the identification of genetic locus link to glyphosate-resistance event in the species.
The successful establishment of an Agrobacterium-mediated transformation method and optimisation of six critical parameters known to influence the efficacy of Agrobacterium T-DNA transfer in the unicellular microalga Chlorella vulgaris (UMT-M1) are reported. Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain LBA4404 harbouring the binary vector pCAMBIA1304 containing the gfp:gusA fusion reporter and a hygromycin phosphotransferase (hpt) selectable marker driven by the CaMV35S promoter were used for transformation. Transformation frequency was assessed by monitoring transient β-glucuronidase (GUS) expression 2 days post-infection. It was found that co-cultivation temperature at 24°C, co-cultivation medium at pH 5.5, 3 days of co-cultivation, 150 μM acetosyringone, Agrobacterium density of 1.0 units (OD(600)) and 2 days of pre-culture were optimum variables which produced the highest number of GUS-positive cells (8.8-20.1%) when each of these parameters was optimised individually. Transformation conducted with the combination of all optimal parameters above produced 25.0% of GUS-positive cells, which was almost a threefold increase from 8.9% obtained from un-optimised parameters. Evidence of transformation was further confirmed in 30% of 30 randomly-selected hygromycin B (20 mg L(-1)) resistant colonies by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using gfp:gusA and hpt-specific primers. The developed transformation method is expected to facilitate the genetic improvement of this commercially-important microalga.
Microalgae lipids and oils are potential candidates for renewable biodiesel. Many microalgae species accumulate a substantial amount of lipids and oils under environmental stresses. However, low growth rate under these adverse conditions account for the decrease in overall biomass productivity which directly influence the oil yield. This study was undertaken to investigate the effect of exogenously added auxin (indole-3-acetic acid; IAA) on the oil content, fatty acid compositions, and the expression of fatty acid biosynthetic genes in Chlorella vulgaris (UMT-M1). Auxin has been shown to regulate growth and metabolite production of several microalgae. Results showed that oil accumulation was highest on days after treatment (DAT)-2 with enriched levels of palmitic (C16:0) and stearic (C18:0) acids, while the linoleic (C18:2) and α-linolenic (C18:3n3) acids levels were markedly reduced by IAA. The elevated levels of saturated fatty acids (C16:0 and C18:0) were consistent with high expression of the β-ketoacyl ACP synthase I (KAS I) gene, while low expression of omega-6 fatty acid desaturase (ω-6 FAD) gene was consistent with low production of C18:2. However, the increment of stearoyl-ACP desaturase (SAD) gene expression upon IAA induction did not coincide with oleic acid (C18:1) production. The expression of omega-3 fatty acid desaturase (ω-3 FAD) gene showed a positive correlation with the synthesis of PUFA and C18:3n3.
Palm oil derived from fruits (mesocarp) of African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq. Tenera) and American oil palm (E. oleifera) is important for food industry. Due to high yield, Elaeis guineensis (Tenera) is cultivated on commercial scale, though its oil contains high (~54%) level of saturated fatty acids. The rate-limiting activity of beta-ketoacyl-[ACP] synthase-II (KAS-II) is considered mainly responsible for the high (44%) level of palmitic acid (C16:0) in the oil obtained from E. guineensis.
Eleusine indica (goosegrass) populations resistant to fluazifop, an acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACCase: EC126.96.36.199)-inhibiting herbicide, were found in several states in Malaysia. Dose-response assay indicated a resistance factor of 87.5, 62.5 and 150 for biotypes P2, P3 and P4, respectively. DNA sequencing and allele-specific PCR revealed that both biotypes P2 and P3 exhibit a single non-synonymous point mutation from TGG to TGC that leads to a well known Trp-2027-Cys mutation. Interestingly, the highly resistant biotype, P4, did not contain any of the known mutation except the newly discovered target point Asn-2097-Asp, which resulted from a nucleotide change in the codon AAT to GAT. ACCase gene expression was found differentially regulated in the susceptible biotype (P1) and highly resistant biotype P4 from 24 to 72h after treatment (HAT) when being treated with the recommended field rate (198gha(-1)) of fluazifop. However, the small and erratic differences of ACCase gene expression between biotype P1 and P4 does not support the 150-fold resistance in biotype P4. Therefore, the involvement of the target point Asn-2097-Asp and other non-target-site-based resistance mechanisms in the biotype P4 could not be ruled out.
Microalgae lipids and oils are potential candidates for renewable biofuels and nutritional inventions. Recent studies from our lab have shown that two plant hormones, auxin and jasmonic acid, influence microalgae growth and fatty acid accumulation. Therefore, in this study, a high oil-producing strain Chlorella vulgaris UMT-M1 was selected for hormonal study using gibberellin (GA). Exogenous GA3 was applied to early stationary culture of C. vulgaris UMT-M1. Results showed that GA3 gradually increases the cell density of C. vulgaris to up to 42% on days after treatment (DAT)-8 and also capable of delaying the algal senescence. However, the increment in cell density did not enhance the total oil production albeit transient modification of fatty acid compositions was observed for saturated (SFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA) fatty acids. This illustrates that GA3 only promotes cell division and growth but not the oil accumulation. In addition, application of GA3 in culture medium was shown to promote transient increment of palmitic (C16:0) and stearic (C18:0) acids from DAT-4 to DAT-6 and these changes are correlated with the expression of β-ketoacyl ACP synthase I (KAS I) gene.
Glyphosate-resistant populations of Eleusine indica are widespread in several states of Malaysia. A whole-plant bioassay confirmed that eight out of the 17 populations tested were resistant to glyphosate at double the recommended rate of 2.44 kg ha-1. Screening with allele-specific PCR (AS-PCR) revealed that resistant plants contained an EPSPS gene with either the homozygous S/S-106 or the heterozygous P/S-106 alleles. All susceptible plants contained only the homozygous P/P-106 allele. In addition, DNA sequences of the full-length EPSPS gene from one susceptible (SB) and four resistant (R2, R6, R8 and R11) populations revealed an amino acid substitution of T102I in all the resistant plants, while another substitution of P381L was only found in resistant populations R6 and R11. The significance of the P381L mutation was examined by Molecular Mechanics Poisson-Boltzmann Surface Area (MM-PBSA) and residue interaction network (RIN) analyses, which suggests the P381L mutation may contribute to resistance. Mutations at 102 and 106 occur widely in the EPSPS gene of glyphosate-resistant E. indica populations from Malaysia with the TIPS mutation. In addition, the P381L mutation could also contribute to resistance.
In viral respiratory infections, disrupted pathophysiological outcomes have been attributed to hyper-activated and unresolved inflammation responses of the immune system. Integration between available drugs and natural therapeutics have reported benefits in relieving inflammation-related physiological outcomes and microalgae may be a feasible source from which to draw from against future coronavirus-infections. Microalgae represent a large and diverse source of chemically functional compounds such as carotenoids and lipids that possess various bioactivities, including anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore in this paper, some implicated pathways causing inflammation in viral respiratory infections are discussed and juxtaposed along with available research done on several microalgal metabolites. Additionally, the therapeutic properties of some known anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immunomodulating compounds sourced from microalgae are reported for added clarity.
This study was undertaken to investigate the effects of different nitrate concentrations in culture medium on oil content and fatty acid composition of Chlorella vulgaris (UMT-M1) and Chlorella sorokiniana (KS-MB2). Results showed that both species produced significant higher (p<0.05) oil content at nitrate ranging from 0.18 to 0.66 mM with C. vulgaris produced 10.20-11.34% dw, while C. sorokiniana produced 15.44-17.32% dw. The major fatty acids detected include C16:0, C18:0, C18:1, C18:2 and C18:3. It is interesting to note that both species displayed differentially regulated fatty acid accumulation patterns in response to nitrate treatments at early stationary growth phase. Their potential use for biodiesel application could be enhanced by exploring the concept of binary blending of the two microalgae oils using developed mathematical equations to calculate the oil mass blending ratio and simultaneously estimated the weight percentage (wt.%) of desirable fatty acid compositions.
This study demonstrates the use of NMR techniques coupled with chemometric analysis as a high throughput data mining method to identify and examine the efficiency of different disruption techniques tested on microalgae (Chlorella variabilis, Scenedesmus regularis and Ankistrodesmus gracilis). The yield and chemical diversity from the disruptions together with the effects of pre-oven and pre-freeze drying prior to disruption techniques were discussed. HCl extraction showed the highest recovery of oil compounds from the disrupted microalgae (up to 90%). In contrast, NMR analysis showed the highest intensity of bioactive metabolites obtained for homogenized extracts pre-treated with freeze-drying, indicating that homogenizing is a more favorable approach to recover bioactive substances from the disrupted microalgae. The results show the potential of NMR as a useful metabolic fingerprinting tool for assessing compound diversity in complex microalgae extracts.
Nitrate is required to maintain the growth and metabolism of plant and animals. Nevertheless, in excess amount such as polluted water, its concentration can be harmful to living organisms such as microalgae. Recently, studies on microalgae response towards nutrient fluctuation are usually limited to lipid accumulation for the production of biofuels, disregarding the other potential of microalgae to be used in wastewater treatments and as source of important metabolites. Our study therefore captures the need to investigate overall metabolite changes via NMR spectroscopy approach coupled with multivariate data to understand the complex molecular process under high (4X) and low (1/4X) concentrations of nitrate ([Formula: see text]). NMR spectra with the aid of chemometric analysis revealed contrasting metabolites makeup under abundance and limited nitrate treatment. By using NMR technique, 43 types of metabolites and 8 types of fatty acid chains were detected. Nevertheless, only 20 key changes were observed and 16 were down regulated in limited nitrate condition. This paper has demonstrated the feasibility of NMR-based metabolomics approach to study the physiological impact of changing environment such as pollution to the implications for growth and productivity of microalgae population.
Interest in harvesting potential benefits from microalgae renders it necessary to have the many ecological niches of a single species to be investigated. This dataset comprises de novo whole genome assembly of two mangrove-isolated microalgae (from division Chlorophyta); Chlorella vulgaris UMT-M1 and Messastrum gracile SE-MC4 from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Malaysia. Library runs were carried out with 2 × 150 base paired-ends reads, whereas sequencing was conducted using Illumina Novaseq 2500 platform. Sequencing yielded raw reads amounting to ∼11 Gb in total bases for both species and was further assembled de novo. Genome assembly resulted in a 50.15 Mbp and 60.83 Mbp genome size for UMT-M1 and SE-MC4, respectively. All filtered and assembled genomic data sequences have been submitted to National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and can be located at DDBJ/ENA/GenBank under the accession of VJNP00000000 (UMT-M1) and VIYE00000000 (SE-MC4).
Abscisic acid (ABA) has been known to exist in a microalgal system and serves as one of the chemical stimuli in various biological pathways. Nonetheless, the involvement of ABA in fatty acid biosynthesis, particularly at the transcription level in microalgae is poorly understood. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of exogenous ABA on growth, total oil content, fatty acid composition, and the expression level of beta ketoacyl-ACP synthase I (KAS I) and omega-3 fatty acid desaturase (ω-3 FAD) genes in Chlorella vulgaris UMT-M1. ABA was applied to early stationary C. vulgaris cultures at concentrations of 0, 10, 20, and 80 μM for 48 h. The results showed that ABA significantly increased biomass production and total oil content. The increment of palmitic (C16:0) and stearic (C18:0) acids was coupled by decrement in linoleic (C18:2) and α-linolenic (C18:3n3) acids. Both KAS I and ω-3 FAD gene expression were downregulated, which was negatively correlated to saturated fatty acid (SFAs), but positively correlated to polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) accumulations. Further analysis of both KAS I and ω-3 FAD promoters revealed the presence of multiple ABA-responsive elements (ABREs) in addition to other phytohormone-responsive elements. However, the role of these phytohormone-responsive elements in regulating KAS I and ω-3 FAD gene expression still remains elusive. This revelation might suggest that phytohormone-responsive gene regulation in C. vulgaris and microalgae as a whole might diverge from higher plants which deserve further scientific research to elucidate its functional roles.
In this study, the effects of limited and excess nitrate on biomass, lipid production, and fatty acid profile in Messastrum gracile SE-MC4 were determined. The expression of fatty acid desaturase genes, namely stearoyl-ACP desaturase (SAD), omega-6 fatty acid desaturase (ω-6 FAD), omega-3 fatty acid desaturase isoform 1 (ω-3 FADi1), and omega-3 fatty acid desaturase isoform 2 (ω-3 FADi2) was also assessed. It was found that nitrate limitation generally increased the total oil, α-linolenic acid (C18:3n3) and total polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) contents in M. gracile. The reduction of nitrate concentration from 1.76 to 0.11 mM increased the total oil content significantly from 32.5 to 41.85% (dry weight). Palmitic (C16:0) and oleic (C18:1) acids as the predominant fatty acids in this microalgae constituted between 82 and 87% of the total oil content and were relatively consistent throughout all nitrate concentrations tested. The expression of SAD, ω-6 FAD, and ω-3 FADi2 genes increased under nitrate limitation, especially at 0.11 mM nitrate. The ω-3 FADi1 demonstrated a binary up-regulation pattern of expression under both nitrate-deficient (0.11 mM) and -excess (3.55 mM) conditions. Thus, findings from this study suggested that limited or excess nitrate could be used as part of a cultivation strategy to increase oil and PUFA content following media optimisation and more efficient culture methodology. Data obtained from the expression of desaturase genes would provide valuable insights into their roles under excess and limited nitrate conditions in M. gracile, potentially paving the way for future genetic modifications.
In this study, the effects of limited and excess phosphate on biomass content, oil content, fatty acid profile and the expression of three fatty acid desaturases in Messastrum gracile SE-MC4 were determined. It was found that total biomass (0.67-0.83 g L-1), oil content (30.99-38.08%) and the duration for cells to reach stationary phase (25-27 days) were not considerably affected by phosphate limitation. However, excess phosphate slightly reduced total biomass and oil content to 0.50 g L-1 and 25.36% respectively. The dominant fatty acids in M. gracile, pamitic acid (C16:0) and oleic acid (C18:1) which constitute more than 81% of the total fatty acids remained relatively high and constant across all phosphate concentrations. Reduction of phosphate concentration to 25% and below significantly increased total MUFA, whereas increasing phosphate concentration to ≥ 50% and ≥ 100% significantly increased total SFA and PUFA content respectively. The expression of omega-3 fatty acid desaturase (ω-3 FADi1, ω-3 FADi2) and omega-6 fatty acid desaturase (ω-6 FAD) was increased under phosphate limitation, especially at ≤ 12.5% phosphate, whereas levels of streoyl-ACP desaturase (SAD) transcripts were relatively unchanged across all phosphate concentrations. The first isoform of ω-3 FAD (ω-3 FADi) displayed a binary upregulation under limited (≤ 12.5%) and excess (200%) phosphate. The expression of ω-6 FAD, ω-3 FAD and SAD were inconsistent with the accumulation of oleic acid (C18:1), linoleic acid (C18:2) and alpha-linolenic acid (C18:3), suggesting that these genes may be regulated indirectly by phosphate availability via post-transcriptional or post-translational mechanisms.
Conventional microalgae oil extraction applies physicochemical destruction of dry cell biomass prior to transesterification process to produce fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs). This report presents a simple and rapid direct transesterification (DT) method for FAMEs production and fatty acid profiling of microalgae using freshly harvested biomass. Results revealed that the FAMEs recovered from Chlorella vulgaris were 50.1 and 68.3 mg with conventional oil-extraction-transesterification (OET) and DT method, respectively. While for Messastrum gracile, the FAMEs recovered, were 49.9 and 76.3 mg, respectively with OET and DT methods. This demonstrated that the DT method increased FAMEs recovery by 36.4% and 53.0% from C. vulgaris and M. gracile, respectively, as compared to OET method. Additionally, the DT method recovered a significantly higher amount of palmitic (C16:0) and stearic (C18:0) acids from both species, which indicated the important role of these fatty acids in the membranes of cells and organelles. The DT method performed very well using a small volume (5 mL) of fresh biomass coupled with a shorter reaction time (~ 15 min), thus making real-time monitoring of FAMEs and fatty acid accumulation in microalgae culture feasible.
The use of acetosyringone in Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer into plant hosts has been favored for the past few decades. The influence of other phenolic compounds and their effectiveness in Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation systems has been neglected. In this study, the efficacy of four phenolic compounds on Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of the unicellular green alga Nannochloropsis sp. (Strain UMT-M3) was assessed by using β-glucuronidase (GUS) assay. We found that cinnamic acid, vanillin and coumarin produced higher percentages of GUS positive cells as compared to acetosyringone. These results also show that the presence of methoxy group in the phenolic compounds may not be necessary for Agrobacterium vir gene induction and receptor binding as suggested by previous studies. These findings provide possible alternative Agrobacterium vir gene inducers that are more potent as compared to the commonly used acetosyringone in achieving high efficiency of Agrobacterium-mediated transformation in microalgae and possibly for other plants.
Mangrove-dwelling microalgae are well adapted to frequent encounters of salinity fluctuations across their various growth phases but are lesser studied. The current study explored the adaptive changes (in terms of biomass, oil content and fatty acid composition) of mangrove-isolated C. vulgaris UMT-M1 cultured under different salinity levels (5, 10, 15, 20, 30 ppt). The highest total oil content was recorded in cultures at 15 ppt salinity (63.5% of dry weight) with uncompromised biomass productivity, thus highlighting the 'trigger-threshold' for oil accumulation in C. vulgaris UMT-M1. Subsequently, C. vulgaris UMT-M1 was further assessed across different growth phases under 15 ppt. The various short, medium and long-chain fatty acids (particularly C20:0), coupled with a high level of C18:3n3 PUFA reported at early exponential phase represents their physiological importance during rapid cell growth. Accumulation of C18:1 and C18:2 at stationary growth phase across all salinities was seen as cells accumulating substrate for C18:3n3 should the cells anticipate a move from stationary phase into new growth phase. This study sheds some light on the possibility of 'triggered' oil accumulation with uninterrupted growth and the participation of various fatty acid types upon salinity mitigation in a mangrove-dwelling microalgae.