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ALGAE > Volume 26(1); 2011 > Article
ALGAE 2011;26(1): 3-20. doi: https://doi.org/10.4490/algae.2011.26.1.003
[Review] The unicellular green alga Dunaliella salina Teod. as a model for abiotic stress tolerance: genetic advances and future perspectives
Ana A. Ramos1, Jürgen Polle2, Duc Tran2, John C. Cushman3, EonSeon Jin4 and João C. Varela1,*

1Centre of Marine Sciences, University of Algarve, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
2Brooklyn College, The City University of New York Brooklyn, New York, NY 11210, USA
3Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557-0330, USA
4Department of Life Science, Hanyang University, Seoul 133-791, Korea
*Corresponding Author  Email: jvarela@ualg.pt
ABSTRACT
The physiology of the unicellular green alga Dunaliella salina in response to abiotic stress has been studied for several decades. Early D. salina research focused on its remarkable salinity tolerance and ability, upon exposure to various abiotic stresses, to accumulate high concentrations of β-carotene and other carotenoid pigments valued highly as nutraceuticals. The simple life cycle and growth requirements of D. salina make this organism one of the large-scale commercially exploited microalgae for natural carotenoids. Recent advances in genomics and proteomics now allow investigation of abiotic stress responses at the molecular level. Detailed knowledge of isoprenoid biosynthesis mechanisms and the development of molecular tools and techniques for D. salina will allow the improvement of physiological characteristics of algal strains and the use of transgenic algae in bioreactors. Here we review D. salina isoprenoid and carotenoid biosynthesis regulation, and also the biotechnological and genetic transformation procedures developed for this alga that set the stage for its future use as a production system.
Key words: abiotic stress; carotenogenesis; Dunaliella salina; genomics; isoprenoid biosynthesis; lipid biosynthesis; transformation


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