Proteomic and transcriptomic patterns during lipid remodeling in nannochloropsis gaditana

Chris J. Hulatt*, Irina Smolina, Adam Dowle, Martina Kopp, Ghana K. Vasanth, Galice G. Hoarau, René H. Wijffels, Viswanath Kiron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Nutrient limited conditions are common in natural phytoplankton communities and are often used to increase the yield of lipids from industrial microalgae cultivations. Here we studied the effects of bioavailable nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) deprivation on the proteome and transcriptome of the oleaginous marine microalga Nannochloropsis gaditana. Turbidostat cultures were used to selectively apply either N or P deprivation, controlling for variables including the light intensity. Global (cell-wide) changes in the proteome were measured using Tandem Mass Tag (TMT) and LC-MS/MS, whilst gene transcript expression of the same samples was quantified by Illumina RNA-sequencing. We detected 3423 proteins, where 1543 and 113 proteins showed significant changes in abundance in N and P treatments, respectively. The analysis includes the global correlation between proteomic and transcriptomic data, the regulation of subcellular proteomes in different compartments, gene/protein functional groups, and metabolic pathways. The results show that triacylglycerol (TAG) accumulation under nitrogen deprivation was associated with substantial downregulation of protein synthesis and photosynthetic activity. Oil accumulation was also accompanied by a diverse set of responses including the upregulation of diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT), lipase, and lipid body associated proteins. Deprivation of phosphorus had comparatively fewer, weaker effects, some of which were linked to the remodeling of respiratory metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6946
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2020


  • Bioreactor
  • EPA
  • Nannochloropsis
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Proteomics
  • TAG
  • Transcriptomics

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