Chromosome-scale assembly of the streamlined picoeukaryote Picochlorum sp. SENEW3 genome reveals Rabl-like chromatin structure and potential for C4 photosynthesis

Patrick A. da Roza, Héloïse Muller, Geraldine J. Sullivan, Roy S. K. Walker, Hugh D. Goold, Robert D. Willows, Brian Palenik, Ian T. Paulsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Genome sequencing and assembly of the photosynthetic picoeukaryotic Picochlorum sp. SENEW3 revealed a compact genome with a reduced gene set, few repetitive sequences, and an organized Rabl-like chromatin structure. Hi-C chromosome conformation capture revealed evidence of possible chromosomal translocations, as well as putative centromere locations. Maintenance of a relatively few selenoproteins, as compared to similarly sized marine picoprasinophytes Mamiellales, and broad halotolerance compared to others in Trebouxiophyceae, suggests evolutionary adaptation to variable salinity environments. Such adaptation may have driven size and genome minimization and have been enabled by the retention of a high number of membrane transporters. Identification of required pathway genes for both CAM and C4 photosynthetic carbon fixation, known to exist in the marine mamiellale pico-prasinophytes and seaweed Ulva, but few other chlorophyte species, further highlights the unique adaptations of this robust alga. This high-quality assembly provides a significant advance in the resources available for genomic investigations of this and other photosynthetic picoeukaryotes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number001223
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalMicrobial Genomics
Issue number4
Early online date16 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2024. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Photosynthesis/genetics
  • Genomics
  • Chromosomes
  • Chromatin/genetics


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  • COESB: ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology

    Paulsen, I., Filipovska, A., Parker, R., Nielsen, L. K., Neilan, B. A., Alexandrov, K., Jackson , C., Wodak, J., Rackham, O., Marcellin, E., Gillings, M., Rogers, W., Lee, L., Packer, N., O'Hara, I. M., Speight, R., Vickers, C. E., Beliaev, A., Scott, C., Lacey, J., Mankad, A., Calvert, J., Thomas, G., Rodriguez-Concepcion, M., Fleishman, S., Koepke, M., Ball, M., Turner, N. J., Borneman, A. R., Holowko, M., Goold, H., Ellis, T., Mitchell, L. A. & Dai, J.


    Project: Research

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