Glycerolipid characterization and nutrient deprivation-associated changes in the green picoalga ostreococcus tauri

TitleGlycerolipid characterization and nutrient deprivation-associated changes in the green picoalga ostreococcus tauri
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsDegraeve-Guilbault C, Bréhélin C, Haslam R, Sayanova O, Marie-Luce G, Jouhet J, Corellou F
JournalPlant Physiology
Keywordsrcc3401, RCC4222, RCC745, RCC788, RCC789, RCC802, RCC809, RCC834

The picoalga Ostreococcus tauri is a minimal photosynthetic eukaryote that has been used as a model system. O. tauri is known to efficiently produce docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). We provide a comprehensive study of the glycerolipidome of O. tauri and validate this species as model for related picoeukaryotes. O. tauri lipids displayed unique features that combined traits from the green and the chromalveolate lineages. The betaine lipid diacylglyceryl-hydroxymethyl-trimethyl-β-alanine and phosphatidyldimethylpropanethiol, both hallmarks of chromalveolates, were identified as presumed extraplastidial lipids. DHA was confined to these lipids, while plastidial lipids of prokaryotic type were characterized by the overwhelming presence of ω-3 C18 polyunsaturated fatty acids (FAs), 18:5 being restricted to galactolipids. C16:4, an FA typical of green microalgae galactolipids, also was a major component of O. tauri extraplastidial lipids, while the 16:4-coenzyme A (CoA) species was not detected. Triacylglycerols (TAGs) displayed the complete panel of FAs, and many species exhibited combinations of FAs diagnostic for plastidial and extraplastidial lipids. Importantly, under nutrient deprivation, 16:4 and ω-3 C18 polyunsaturated FAs accumulated into de novo synthesized TAGs while DHA-TAG species remained rather stable, indicating an increased contribution of FAs of plastidial origin to TAG synthesis. Nutrient deprivation further severely down-regulated the conversion of 18:3 to 18:4, resulting in obvious inversion of the 18:3/18:4 ratio in plastidial lipids, TAGs, as well as acyl-CoAs. The fine-tuned and dynamic regulation of the 18:3/18:4 ratio suggested an important physiological role of these FAs in photosynthetic membranes. Acyl position in structural and storage lipids together with acyl-CoA analysis further help to determine mechanisms possibly involved in glycerolipid synthesis.