Innovations in improving lipid production: Algal chemical genetics

Nishikant Wase, Paul Black, Concetta DiRusso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Perturbation of a biological system with small molecules to achieve a desired phenotype or activity is commonly referred as chemical genetics. In pharmaceutical discovery, this approach is most often employed in target-based screening but in plants systems the focus is primarily on phenotypic selection for commercially relevant phenotype generation such as crop improvement or disease and pathogen resistance. Likewise, algae are considered feedstock organisms for viable and sustainable biofuels and other high value products with commercial applications. Algal triacylglycerol synthesis is therefore an important target for chemical genetics using high throughput technologies. In this review, efforts are directed towards summarizing our present understanding of the regulation of algal triacylglycerol biosynthesis, highlighting critical enzymes in lipid and carbon metabolism that may be manipulated to increase lipid metabolism in algae. These enzymes and pathways are targets for chemical genetics with the focus on selection of small molecules as tools to improve triacylglycerol storage. Using case studies, we summarize how chemical genetics is being used in plant and microalgal systems to address these critical problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-123
Number of pages23
JournalProgress in Lipid Research
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • Biofuels
  • Chemical genetics
  • High throughput screening
  • Microalgae
  • Target identification
  • Triaclyglycerol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Innovations in improving lipid production: Algal chemical genetics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this