Induced beta-carotene synthesis driven by triacylglycerol deposition in the unicellular alga dunaliella bardawil

Rabbani; Beyer; Lintig; Hugueney; Kleinig

Plant Physiology 116(4): 1239-1248


ISSN/ISBN: 0032-0889
PMID: 9536040
DOI: 10.1104/pp.116.4.1239
Accession: 008854930

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Under stress conditions such as high light intensity or nutrient starvation, cells of the unicellular alga Dunaliella bardawil overproduce beta-carotene, which is accumulated in the plastids in newly formed triacylglycerol droplets. We report here that the formation of these sequestering structures and beta-carotene are interdependent. When the synthesis of triacylglycerol is blocked, the overproduction of beta-carotene is also inhibited. During overproduction of beta-carotene no up-regulation of phytoene synthase or phytoene desaturase is observed on the transcriptional or translational level, whereas at the same time acetyl-CoA carboxylase, the key regulatory enzyme of acyl lipid biosynthesis, is increased, at least in its enzymatic activity. We conclude that under normal conditions the carotenogenic pathway is not maximally active and may be appreciably stimulated in the presence of sequestering structures, creating a plastid-localized sink for the end product of the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway.