Remodeling of membrane lipids in iron-starved chlamydomonas

  • Urzica E
  • Vieler A
  • Hong-Hermesdorf A
 et al. 
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Abstract

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cells exposed to abiotic stresses (e.g. nitrogen, zinc, or phosphorus deficiency) accumulate triacylglycerols (TAG), which are stored in lipid droplets. Here, we report that iron starvation leads to formation of lipid droplets and accumulation of TAGs. This occurs between 12 and 24 h after the switch to iron-starvation medium. C. reinhardtii cells deprived of iron have more saturated fatty acid (FA), possibly due to the loss of function of FA desaturases, which are iron-requiring enzymes with diiron centers. The abundance of a plastid acyl-ACP desaturase (FAB2) is decreased to the same degree as ferredoxin. Ferredoxin is a substrate of the desaturases and has been previously shown to be a major target of the iron deficiency response. The increase in saturated FA (C16:0 and C18:0) is concomitant with the decrease in unsaturated FA (C16:4, C18:3, or C18:4). This change was gradual for diacylglyceryl-N,N,N-trimethylhomoserine (DGTS) and digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG), whereas the monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) FA profile remained stable during the first 12 h, whereas MGDG levels were decreasing over the same period of time. These changes were detectable after only 2 h of iron starvation. On the other hand, DGTS and DGDG contents gradually decreased until a minimum was reached after 24-48 h. RNA-Seq analysis of iron-starved C. reinhardtii cells revealed notable changes in many transcripts coding for enzymes involved in FA metabolism. The mRNA abundances of genes coding for components involved in TAG accumulation (diacylglycerol acyltransferases or major lipid droplet protein) were increased. A more dramatic increase at the transcript level has been observed for many lipases, suggesting that major remodeling of lipid membranes occurs during iron starvation in C. reinhardtii.

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Authors

  • David CaseroUniversity of California Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine

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  • Sean GallaherUniversity of California - Los Angeles

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  • Eugen I. Urzica

  • Astrid Vieler

  • Anne Hong-Hermesdorf

  • M. Dudley Page

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