Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 145–156 | Cite as

Examination of carbohydrate and lipid metabolic changes during Haematococcus pluvialis non-motile cell germination using transcriptome analysis

  • Qianqian Li
  • Litao Zhang
  • Jianguo LiuEmail author


During the complex Haematococcus pluvialis life cycle, germination from non-motile cells to motile cells is the key stage for cell recovery from resting spores. Three phases can be recognized: first, repeated mitotic events; next, cytokinesis to form the zoospore; and finally, a fast release of motile cells. After HiSeq 2000 sequencing of RNA collected at four time points during non-motile cell germination, a total of 2202 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified. In the expression profiles, there is a consistent increase in the expression level of α-amylase and ACAA1 in the entire process, indicating starch and lipid mobilization. In phase 1, two down-regulated genes (fructose-1, 6-bisphosphate aldolase (FBA) and pyruvate kinase (PK)) of glycolysis limited the provision of acetyl-CoA for the TCA cycle, which could be compensated by fatty acid degradation (up-regulation of ACAA1) in the glyoxysome. In phase 2, nine and eight up-regulated enzymes of carbohydrate (glycolysis, TCA cycle, and pentose phosphate pathway) and lipid (fatty acid synthesis and degradation) metabolism, respectively, would increase the metabolic rate and come into a balance between production and consumption of starch and lipid. Till phase 3, the expression of the vast majority of carbohydrate metabolism-related DEGs remained high, while lipid metabolism did not. This suggested that the carbon flux centered on carbohydrate metabolism in this phase. In addition, several isozymes of FBA, GAPDH, PK, and so on were separated by SMART analysis and are postulated to serve different actions during H. pluvialis non-motile cell germination.


Haematococcus pluvialis Non-motile cell Motile cell Germination Metabolic change 



This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31702366 and 31572639). We thank Shanghai Personal Biotechnology Co., Ltd. (Shanghai, China) for Illumina transcriptome sequencing and initial data analysis. We thank Ling Li, Fang Su, and Chunhui Zhang for their work in cultivation and collection of alga. Special thanks to Dr. John van der Meer (Pan-American Marine Biotechnology Association) for his assistance with proofreading.

Authors’ contributions

This study was designed by QL and JL. QL performed the experiments. QL and LZ analyzed the data. QL and JL wrote the paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing interests

The authors state this research is free of conflicts of interests.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 260 kb)
10811_2018_1524_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (29 kb)
ESM 2 (XLSX 29 kb)
10811_2018_1524_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (36 kb)
Table S4 (XLSX 36 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Experimental Marine Biology, Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Laboratory for Marine Biology and BiotechnologyQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina
  3. 3.National-Local Joint Engineering Research Center for Haematococcus pluvialis and AstaxanthinYunnan Alphy Biotech Co., Ltd.ChuxiongChina

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