New Insights on Algal Metabolism


Photosynthetic algae are a potential bioenergy source; however, significant unknowns about their basic metabolic properties have hindered development of algae for biofuel production. DOE researchers now present a new metabolic network reconstruction and a genome-scale model of light-driven metabolism for the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. This approach represents a significant advance over previous metabolic models for this organism since it incorporates greatly improved functional gene annotations, experimental validation of gene expression, and quantitative reaction measurements under different light conditions. This model allows enhanced understanding and prediction of photosynthetic growth properties (including lipid synthesis) under varying conditions and provides a broad knowledgebase of potential targets for directed metabolic engineering. This publication was featured in the Editor’s Choice section of the August 12th issue of Science.


Chang, R. L., L. Ghamsari, A. Manichaikul, E. F. Hom, S. Balaji, W. Fu, Y. Shen, T. Hao, B. Palsson, K. Salehi-Ashtiani, and J. A. Papin. 2011. “Metabolic Network Reconstruction of Chlamydomonas Offers Insight into Light-Driven Algal Metabolism,” Molecular Systems Biology 7:518. DOI:10.1038/msb.2011.52.