Subcellular localization of in NoZEP1 N.oceanica



Subcellular localization of in NoZEP1 N.oceanica


Nannochloropsis oceanica (N. oceanica IMET1)


Subcellular Localization





The marine alga Nannochloropsis oceanica, an emerging model belonging to Heterokont, is considered as a promising light-driven eukaryotic chassis for transforming carbon dioxide to various compounds including carotenoids. Nevertheless, the carotenogenic genes and their roles in the alga remain less understood and to be further explored.


Here, two phylogenetically distant zeaxanthin epoxidase (ZEP) genes from N. oceanica (NoZEP1 and NoZEP2) were functionally characterized. Subcellular localization experiment demonstrated that both NoZEP1 and NoZEP2 reside in the chloroplast yet with differential distribution patterns. Overexpression of NoZEP1 or NoZEP2 led to increases of violaxanthin and its downstream carotenoids at the expense of zeaxanthin in N. oceanica, with the extent of changes mediated by NoZEP1 overexpression being greater as compared to NoZEP2 overexpression. Suppression of NoZEP1 or NoZEP2, on the other hand, caused decreases of violaxanthin and its downstream carotenoids as well as increases of zeaxanthin; similarly, the extent of changes mediated by NoZEP1 suppression was larger than that by NoZEP2 suppression. Interestingly, chlorophyll a dropped following violaxanthin decrease in a well-correlated manner in response to NoZEP suppression. The thylakoid membrane lipids including monogalactosyldiacylglycerol also correlated with the violaxanthin decreases. Accordingly, NoZEP1 suppression resulted in more attenuated algal growth than NoZEP2 suppression did under either normal light or high light stage.


The results together support that both NoZEP1 and NoZEP2, localized in the chloroplast, have overlapping roles in epoxidating zeaxanthin to violaxanthin for the light-dependent growth, yet with NoZEP1 being more functional than NoZEP2 in N. oceanica. Our study provides implications into the understanding of carotenoid biosynthesis and future manipulation of N. oceanica for carotenoid production.