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AC-202, a highly effective fluorophore for the visualization of lipid droplets in green algae and diatoms

Seddik Harchouni 1, 2 Ben Field 1, 2 Benoît Menand 1, 2
2 LGBP - Luminy Génétique et Biophysique des Plantes
BIAM - Institut de Biosciences et Biotechnologies d'Aix-Marseille (ex-IBEB) : DRF/BIAM
Abstract : Background: Lipid-specific live cell dyes are an important tool for the study of algal lipid metabolism, the monitoring of lipid production, and the identification of algal strains with high lipid yields. Nile Red and BODIPY have emerged as the principal dyes for these purposes. However, they suffer from a number of shortcomings including for specificity, penetration, interference from chlorophyll autofluorescence, and incompatibility with widely used genetically encoded reporters in the green and blue regions of the spectrum such as the green fluorescent protein and the red fluorescent protein. Results: We tested a new blue fluorescent dye, AC-202, in both the green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and the pennate diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. We show that AC-202 is effective in both algae and that after minimal sample preparation, it can label lipid droplets induced by nitrogen starvation or by inhibitors of the TOR (target of rapamycin) kinase. We found that AC-202 benefits from a low background signal and is therefore more sensitive than BODIPY for semiquantitative in vivo fluorescence measurements. Finally, a co-staining experiment indicated that AC-202 can be used for multicolor imaging in combination with both red and green fluorophores. Conclusions: AC-202 is an alternative and highly effective fluorophore for algal research that resolves drawbacks encountered with other neutral lipid dyes. AC-202 can be used to rapidly and sensitively visualize lipid droplets, and will contribute to the identification of metabolic and signaling pathways involved in lipid droplet formation, monitoring lipid production, and in the development of screens for algal strains suitable for biofuel production.
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Seddik Harchouni, Ben Field, Benoît Menand. AC-202, a highly effective fluorophore for the visualization of lipid droplets in green algae and diatoms. Biotechnology for Biofuels, BioMed Central, 2018, 11, pp.120. ⟨10.1186/s13068-018-1117-9⟩. ⟨hal-01855799⟩



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