Purification and photobiochemical profile of photosystem 1 from a high-salt tolerant, oleaginous C hlorella (Trebouxiophycaea, Chlorophyta)

Michael D. McConnell, David Lowry, Troy N. Rowan, Karin Van Dijk, Kevin Redding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The eukaryotic green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has been studied extensively within the biofuel industry as a model organism, as researchers look towards algae to provide chemical feedstocks (i.e., lipids) for the production of liquid transportation fuels. C. reinhardtii, however, is unsuitable for high-level production of such precursors due to its relatively poor lipid accumulation and fresh-water demand. In this study we offer insight into the primary light harvesting and electron transfer reactions that occur during phototropic growth in a high-salt tolerant strain of Chlorella (a novel strain introduced here as NE1401), a single-celled eukaryotic algae also in the phylum Chlorophyta. Under nutrient starvation many eukaryotic algae increase dramatically the amount of lipids stored in lipid bodies within their cell interiors. Microscopy and lipid analyses indicate that Chlorella sp. NE1401 may become a superior candidate for algal biofuels production. We have purified highly active Photosystem 1 (PS1) complexes to study in vitro, so that we may understand further the photobiochemisty of this promising biofuel producer and how its characteristics compare and contrast with that of the better understood C. reinhardtii. Our findings suggest that the PS1 complex from Chlorella sp. NE1401 demonstrates similar characteristics to that of C. reinhardtii with respect to light-harvesting and electron transfer reactions. We also illustrate that the relative extent of the light state transition performed by Chlorella sp. NE1401 is smaller compared to C. reinhardtii, although they are triggered by the same dynamic light stresses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-209
Number of pages11
JournalBiochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2 2014


  • Algal biofuels
  • Chlamydomonas
  • Chlorella
  • Photosystem 1
  • Reaction center purification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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