The role of microtubules in microalgae: Inspirations for lipid accumulation and extraction

Lijie Zhang, Haiyan Pei*, Zhig


Microtubules have been verified to be able to regulate the precursors in microalgal cells. With the aim of testing the assumption that microtubule disruption could regulate precursors for complex organic matters and redirect carbon flow to promote lipid accumulation, Chlorella sorokiniana SDEC-18 was pretreated with different concentrations of oryzalin. Strikingly, microalgae, pretreated with 1.5 mM of oryzalin, accumulated 41.06% of lipid content which was 1.4 times higher than that without pretreatment, attributed to the cellular cross-talk in carbon partitioning induced by microtubule destruction. Furthermore, complete extraction of lipid was achieved after only one extraction steps in microalgae pretreated with 1.5 mM of oryzalin, that was because microtubules were depolymerized with oryzalin pretreatment, the cellulose synthase would be removed from membrane, and cellulose biosynthesis was then blocked, which enhanced cell fragility and thus easier to be broken. This study provided an important advance towards observation of microtubules in microalgae through immunocolloidal gold techniques combined with TEM, and microtubule destruction inducing efficient lipid accumulation and increased cell fragility expanded connotation of metabolic regulation by microtubules.   Keywords: Microalgae; Microtubule destruction; Lipid accumulation; Lipid extraction; Cell fragility.

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