The chlorophyte alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has been a major model organism in photosynthesis research for more than half a century. In the photosynthetic apparatus of Chlamydomonas, the carotenoid pattern is very similar to that of land plant chloroplast. In Chlamydomonas and many other green algae, however, carotenoids are also involved in other cellular processes besides photosynthesis.
One example is the accumulation of carotenoids in resting spores that are formed during unfavorable environmental conditions, another example is their presence in the eyespot apparatus that enables phototaxis. Despite many years of research on Chlamydomonas, the exact nature and biological functions of carotenoids in these algal-specific physiological processes are not yet fully understood. We are studying these aspects aided by the molecular toolbox that has been developed for Chlamydomonas over the last decade.
Grossman et al. (2004), Anwaruzzaman et al. (2004), Lohr et al. (2005), Lohr (2008), Wittkopp et al. (2018)