Researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have
identified an enzyme from the glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT)
family as a promising target for increasing
production from the red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae.
Algae store large amounts of oils called triacylglycerols (TAGs) under
adverse conditions. This mechanism has caught the interest of the
biotechnology sector as TAGs can be converted to Biodiesel. A study led by
Sousuke Imamura at Tokyo Tech's Laboratory for Chemistry and Life Science
has shown that the enzyme GPAT1 plays an important role in TAG accumulation
in C. merolae even under normal growth conditions. The research team found
that TAG production could be increased by more 56 times in a C. merolae
strain overexpressing GPAT1, without any negative effects on algal growth.