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Proteomics analysis of Arginase-like function inhibition effects on the regulation of neutral lipids synthesis in microalgae

Grant number: 22/15431-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2023
Effective date (End): January 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry - Enzymology
Principal Investigator:Flavia Vischi Winck
Grantee:Leandro Luis Lavandosque
Host Institution: Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (CENA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:16/06601-4 - Integrative systems approach for the study of gene expression regulatory networks related to biomass production in microalgae, AP.BIOEN.JP
Associated scholarship(s):24/02042-7 - Metabolomic analysis of the effects of Arginase-like inhibitors in the regulation of neutral lipids synthesis in microalgae, BE.EP.IC


The current socio-environmental-economic situation demands alternatives for sustainable development and the use of microalgal biomass appears as a concrete option. In this context, photosynthetic microalgae appear as promising organisms capable of acting in environmental bioremediation linked to bioproducts production, such as biodiesel. However, the synthesis of neutral lipids (Triacylglycerols/TAGs), necessary for the production of biodiesel, is associated with the activation of a cellular quiescence mechanism, which compromises the high productivity of these lipids. Recent results from our research group obtained from integrative analyzes of the proteome and metabolome of microalgae under nitrogen deprivation conditions, pointed to a set of metabolites and proteins associated with the regulation of the TAG overaccumulation response in microalgae. This analysis indicated the existence of an Arginase-like function, not predicted in the genome of the microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Assays with Arginase inhibitors resulted in increased synthesis of neutral lipids and suggest the existence of an enzyme not yet described in the microalgae genome that may be responsible for the metabolic regulation of the mechanism of over-accumulation of TAGs in microalgae. For validating the regulatory effect, we aimed to analyze the variations of the cellular proteome of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii in mixotrophy under the effect of different Arginase inhibitors, identifying affected metabolic pathways and how this new function may be related to the control of growth and production of TAGs. The results will indicate whether there is a regulatory or signaling role for this new function and whether this is a central point of regulation of TAG synthesis in microalgae.

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