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Phenomics reveals a novel putative chloroplast fatty acid transporter in the marine diatom Skeletonema marinoi involved in temperature acclimation

Journal article
Authors Oskar N. Johansson
Mats H. Töpel
Jenny Egardt
Matthew I. M. Pinder
Mats X. Andersson
Anna Godhe
Adrian K Clarke
Published in Scientific Reports
Volume 9
ISSN 2045-2322
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of marine sciences
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Keywords genome, metabolism, microalgae, evolution, growth, lipids, genes, ocean, Science & Technology - Other Topics
Subject categories Ecology


Diatoms are the dominant phytoplankton in temperate oceans and coastal regions and yet little is known about the genetic basis underpinning their global success. Here, we address this challenge by developing the first phenomic approach for a diatom, screening a collection of randomly mutagenized but identifiably tagged transformants. Based upon their tolerance to temperature extremes, several compromised mutants were identified revealing genes either stress related or encoding hypothetical proteins of unknown function. We reveal one of these hypothetical proteins is a novel putative chloroplast fatty acid transporter whose loss affects several fatty acids including the two omega-3, long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids - eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid, both of which have medical importance as dietary supplements and industrial significance in aquaculture and biofuels. This mutant phenotype not only provides new insights into the fatty acid biosynthetic pathways in diatoms but also highlights the future value of phenomics for revealing specific gene functions in these ecologically important phytoplankton.

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