Exploiting algal NADPH oxidase for biophotovoltaic energy
Ferredoxins (FDX) are final electron carrier proteins in the plant photosynthetic pathway, and function as major electron donors in diverse redox-driven metabolic pathways. We previously showed that overexpression of a major constitutively expressed ferredoxin gene PETF in Chlamydomonas decreased the reactive oxygen species (ROS) level and enhanced tolerance to heat stress. In addition to PETF, an endogenous anaerobic induced FDX5 was overexpressed in transgenic Chlamydomonas lines here to address the possible functions of FDX5. All the independent FDX transgenic lines showed decreased cellular ROS levels and enhanced tolerance to heat and salt stresses. The transgenic Chlamydomonas lines accumulated more starch than the wild-type line and this effect increased almost three-fold in conditions of nitrogen depletion. Furthermore, the lipid content was higher in the transgenic lines than in the wild-type line, both with and without nitrogen depletion. Two FDX-overexpressing Chlamydomonas lines were assessed in a photo microbial fuel cell (PMFC); power density production by the transgenic lines was higher than that of the wild-type cells. These findings suggest that overexpression of either PETF or FDX5 can confer tolerance against heat and salt stresses, increase starch and oil production, and raise electric power density in a PMFC.