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A fluorescence-activated cell sorting-based strategy for rapid isolation of high-lipid Chlamydomonas mutants.

Author(s): Terashima, Mia; Freeman, Elizabeth S.; Jinkerson, Robert E.; Jonikas, Martin C.

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Abstract: There is significant interest in farming algae for the direct production of biofuels and valuable lipids. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is the leading model system for studying lipid metabolism in green algae, but current methods for isolating mutants of this organism with a perturbed lipid content are slow and tedious. Here, we present the Chlamydomonas high-lipid sorting (CHiLiS) strategy, which enables enrichment of high-lipid mutants by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) of pooled mutants stained with the lipid-sensitive dye Nile Red. This method only takes 5 weeks from mutagenesis to mutant isolation. We developed a staining protocol that allows quantification of lipid content while preserving cell viability. We improved separation of high-lipid mutants from the wild type by using each cell's chlorophyll fluorescence as an internal control. We initially demonstrated 20-fold enrichment of the known high-lipid mutant sta1 from a mixture of sta1 and wild-type cells. We then applied CHiLiS to sort thousands of high-lipid cells from a pool of about 60,000 mutants. Flow cytometry analysis of 24 individual mutants isolated by this approach revealed that about 50% showed a reproducible high-lipid phenotype. We further characterized nine of the mutants with the highest lipid content by flame ionization detection and mass spectrometry lipidomics. All mutants analyzed had a higher triacylglycerol content and perturbed whole-cell fatty acid composition. One arbitrarily chosen mutant was evaluated by microscopy, revealing larger lipid droplets than the wild type. The unprecedented throughput of CHiLiS opens the door to a systems-level understanding of green algal lipid biology by enabling genome-saturating isolation of mutants in key genes.
Publication Date: Jan-2015
Electronic Publication Date: 29-Sep-2014
Citation: Terashima, Mia, Freeman, Elizabeth S, Jinkerson, Robert E, Jonikas, Martin C. (2015). A fluorescence-activated cell sorting-based strategy for rapid isolation of high-lipid Chlamydomonas mutants.. The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology, 81 (1), 147 - 159. doi:10.1111/tpj.12682
DOI: doi:10.1111/tpj.12682
ISSN: 0960-7412
EISSN: 1365-313X
Pages: 147 - 159
Language: eng
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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