This single-celled green algae is Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. It has two flagella that help it swim and an 'eyespot' that helps it sense light. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is used in the production of biopharmaceuticals and is interesting to energy researchers because it is a clean source of hydrogen production.
THE ALGAE THAT could cure blindness doesn’t even see, technically. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii are simple, single-cell green algae that live in water and in dirt. They have a round body, two whip-like tails, and a single primitive eye—not even an eye, really, an eyespot—that they use to seek out sunlight for photosynthesis.
The team of scientists, led by researchers at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in collaboration with the University of California, Los Angeles, recently published their work in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It is also available on Phytozome, the DOE Joint Genome Institute’s Plant Genomics Portal.
Rainbow-Colored Algae What can green algae do for science if they weren’t, well, green? That’s the question biologists at UC San Diego sought to answer when they engineered a green alga used commonly in laboratories, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, into a rainbow of different colors by producing six different colored fluorescent proteins in the algae cells.
Pyrenoids (arrows) are spherical inclusions inside chloroplasts that contain high concentrations of enzymes involved in starch production. The deposition of storage material around them makes them very visible in the green algae, and the shape of the starch shell varies. They are sometimes mistaken for nuclei. Top left: this <em>Chlamydomonas</em> contains a large pyrenoid with a complex starch shell. Top middle: <em>Klebsormidium</em> has a pyrenoid with a very complex shell composed of sma...