Algae have evolved several mechanisms to adjust to changing environmental conditions. To separate from their surroundings, algal cell membranes form a hydrophobic barrier that is critical for life. Thus, it is important to maintain or adjust the physical and biochemical properties of cell membranes which are exposed to environmental factors. Especially glycerolipids of thylakoid membranes, the site of photosynthesis and photoprotection within chloroplasts, are affected by different light conditions. Since little is known about membrane lipid remodeling upon different light treatments, we examined light induced alterations in the glycerolipid composition of the two Chlorella species, C. vulgaris and C. sorokiniana, which differ strongly in their ability to cope with different light intensities. Lipidomic analysis and isotopic labeling experiments revealed differences in the composition of their galactolipid species, although both species likely utilize galactolipid precursors originated from the endoplasmic reticulum. However, in silico research of de novo sequenced genomes and ortholog mapping of proteins putatively involved in lipid metabolism showed largely conserved lipid biosynthesis pathways suggesting species specific lipid remodeling mechanisms, which possibly have an impact on the response to different light conditions.

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