About this Research Topic
Cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae, along with plants, are crucial components of the primary production system which underlies the earth’s biosphere. As photosynthetic organisms, these primary producers possess a variety of lipid classes with important functional roles. For example: 1) the photosynthetic machinery of these organisms is housed within a membrane composed chiefly of glycolipids, 2) some of these organisms may produce triacylglycerols which serve as carbon storage, and, along with hydrocarbons, are a potential source of biofuel, 3) these organisms may produce phospholipids and/or betaine lipids which comprise cellular membranes, and 4) these photosynthetic eukaryotes produce sterols which are thought to reinforce these cellular membranes.
The purpose of this Research Topic is to provide an overview of recent discoveries within the realm of the lipid biology of cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae. Namely, papers are welcomed, but not limited to, in the following areas: 1) lipidomic and transcriptomic approaches to better understanding lipid biosynthesis in these organisms, 2) the effect of environmental conditions, such as extremes of temperature, pH, salinity, etc. on lipid composition, 3) production of triacylglycerols and hydrocarbons as potential sources of biofuel, 4) evolutionary applications of lipids and their biosynthesis (e.g., evolution of common biosynthetic pathways, impact of horizontal gene transfer), 5) the role of sterols and steroidal compounds as developmental hormones, and 6) the usage of sterols as environmental biomarkers for the past or current presence of a given organism in an environment.