Oil producing diacylglycerol acyltransferase encoded by the genome of oleaginous microalga Nannochloropsis oceanica – functional analysis and biotechnological applications.
|Title of the project||Oil producing diacylglycerol acyltransferase encoded by the genome of oleaginous microalga Nannochloropsis oceanica – functional analysis and biotechnological applications.|
|Primary and secondary scientific disciplines||Biological sciences, biotechnology|
|Description of the project||My PhD project aims at deciphering the biotechnological potential of the rich set of DAGT-encoding genes from oleaginous microalga Nannochloropsis oceanica. I will be testing their use as potential tools for manipulating TAG accumulation and composition in yeast as well as in seed and non-seed tissues of land plants. My work plan includes:
1) Analysis of lipidic phenotypes triggered by ectopic expression of 13 DGAT-encoding genes from N. oceanica in two diverse heterologous systems (Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Nicotiana benthamiana)
2) Expression of the 13 N. oceanica DGATs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and in vitro analyses of their substrate specificity
3) Ectopic expression of the candidate DGAT-encoding genes from N. oceanica in the wild type and in the tag1_1 mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana and analysis of their phenotypes
My studies will have important implications for the biotechnological modification of crops by increasing DGAT expression in order to produce higher oil content, oils with an altered TAG composition, and plants able to accumulate TAG in non-seed tissues to increase the energy density of the vegetative biomass.
The project is conducted in cooperation with:
1) Prof. Zhi-Yan (Rock) Du, University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Department of Molecular Biosciences & BioEngineering, Honolulu, USA
2) Dr. Juan de Dios Alché Ramírez, Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology of Plants, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), Granada, Spain.
Principal supervisor: dr hab. Krzysztof Zienkiewicz, prof. UMK
Subsidiary supervisor: dr hab. Agnieszka Zienkiewicz, prof. UMK
Foreign scientific advisor: Prof. Zhi-Yan (Rock) Du