Recent technological advances have enabled microalgae-based engineering of bioproducts. Microalgae have a higher photosynthetic efficiency than plants and can be cultivated in agriculturally unused land, which has helped us mass-produce microalgae such as Euglena gracilis. E. gracilis is a unicellular microalgal species found in freshwater and is an attractive species for producing lipids which can be converted into biofuels. However, its lipid production efficiency is low and unable to meet high demands from the competitive fuel market. In this article, we review a few innovative methods for developing super biofuels based on super microalgae that are anticipated to overcome the low lipid production efficiency.
Vertebrate visual photoreceptor cells, rods and cones, consume 11-cis-retinal as a chromophore of visual pigment. 11-cis-retinal is supplied from two metabolic pathways; the retinal pigment epithelium pathway, which is common for both rods and cones, and the cone-specific intra retina pathway. The latter pathway is thought to support a rapid re-synthesis of 11-cis-retinal which is required for cone-mediated daylight vision. Recently, it was proposed that 9-cis-retinal, in addition to 11-cis isomer, is used in this cone-specific pathway and it might modulate sensitivity and spectral tuning of cone-mediated vision. This review summarizes our recent studies to test this hypothesis.
Mechanical forces play pivotal roles in tissue morphogenesis at various scales. Taking developing murine epididymal tubule as an example, I explain about the role of mechanical forces in the tube morphogenesis in this review. First, I show that the tubules undergo wavy pattern formation during the development and the pattern formation at tissue scale occurs by mechanical instabilities due to axial compressive forces. Second, I show that the cells actively move in response to mechanical forces provided by dividing cells within the tubule, leading to generation of the axial compressive forces.