GPAT enzyme can accelerate biofuel production from red algae

August 18, 2018 |

In Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology researchers honed in on an enzyme belonging to the glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) family as a promising target for increasing biofuel production from the red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae.

A study led by Sousuke Imamura at the Laboratory for Chemistry and Life Science, Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), showed that an enzyme called GPAT1 plays an important role in TAG accumulation in C. merolae even under normal growth conditions — that is, without the need to induce stress.

Remarkably, the team demonstrated that TAG productivity could be increased by more than 56 times in a C. merolae strain overexpressing GPAT1 compared with the control strain, without any negative effects on algal growth.

The team plans to continue exploring how GPAT1 and GPAT2 might both be involved in TAG accumulation. An important next step will be to identify transcription factors that control the expression of individual genes of interest.

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