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Metabolites 2019, 9(3), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo9030049

The Bacterial Phytoene Desaturase-Encoding Gene (CRTI) is an Efficient Selectable Marker for the Genetic Transformation of Eukaryotic Microalgae

1
Laboratory of Biochemistry, Faculty of Experimental Sciences, Marine International Campus of Excellence (CEIMAR), University of Huelva, 2110 Huelva, Spain
2
PhycoGenetics SL, C/Joan Miró Nº6, Aljaraque, 21110 Huelva, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 February 2019 / Revised: 27 February 2019 / Accepted: 5 March 2019 / Published: 12 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolites from Phototrophic Prokaryotes and Algae Volume 2)
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Abstract

Genetic manipulation shows great promise to further boost the productivity of microalgae-based compounds. However, selection of microalgal transformants depends mainly on the use of antibiotics, which have raised concerns about their potential impacts on human health and the environment. We propose the use of a synthetic phytoene desaturase-encoding gene (CRTIop) as a selectable marker and the bleaching herbicide norflurazon as a selective agent for the genetic transformation of microalgae. Bacterial phytoene desaturase (CRTI), which, unlike plant and algae phytoene desaturase (PDS), is not sensitive to norflurazon, catalyzes the conversion of the colorless carotenoid phytoene into lycopene. Although the expression of CRTI has been described to increase the carotenoid content in plant cells, its use as a selectable marker has never been testedin algae or in plants. In this study, a version of the CRTI gene adapted to the codon usage of Chlamydomonas has been synthesized, and its suitability to be used as selectable marker has been shown. The microalgae were transformed by the glass bead agitation method and selected in the presence of norflurazon. Average transformation efficiencies of 550 colonies µg−1 DNA were obtained. All the transformants tested had incorporated the CRTIop gene in their genomes and were able to synthesize colored carotenoids. View Full-Text
Keywords: microalgae; Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; genetic transformation; carotenoid; CRTI; phytoene desaturase microalgae; Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; genetic transformation; carotenoid; CRTI; phytoene desaturase
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Molina-Márquez, A.; Vila, M.; Vigara, J.; Borrero, A.; León, R. The Bacterial Phytoene Desaturase-Encoding Gene (CRTI) is an Efficient Selectable Marker for the Genetic Transformation of Eukaryotic Microalgae. Metabolites 2019, 9, 49.

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