Augmented CO2 tolerance by expressing a single H+-pump enables microalgal valorization of industrial flue gas

Hong Il Choi, Sung Won Hwang, Jongrae Kim, Byeonghyeok Park, Eon Seon Jin, In Geol Choi, Sang Jun Sim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Microalgae can accumulate various carbon-neutral products, but their real-world applications are hindered by their CO2 susceptibility. Herein, the transcriptomic changes in a model microalga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, in a high-CO2 milieu (20%) are evaluated. The primary toxicity mechanism consists of aberrantly low expression of plasma membrane H+-ATPases (PMAs) accompanied by intracellular acidification. Our results demonstrate that the expression of a universally expressible PMA in wild-type strains makes them capable of not only thriving in acidity levels that they usually cannot survive but also exhibiting 3.2-fold increased photoautotrophic production against high CO2 via maintenance of a higher cytoplasmic pH. A proof-of-concept experiment involving cultivation with toxic flue gas (13 vol% CO2, 20 ppm NOX, and 32 ppm SOX) shows that the production of CO2-based bioproducts by the strain is doubled compared with that by the wild-type, implying that this strategy potentially enables the microalgal valorization of CO2 in industrial exhaust.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6049
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Augmented CO<sub>2</sub> tolerance by expressing a single H<sup>+</sup>-pump enables microalgal valorization of industrial flue gas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this