In an aerobic environment, responding to oxidative cues is critical for physiological adaptation (acclimation) to changing environmental conditions. The unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was tested for the ability to acclimate to specific forms of oxidative stress. Acclimation was defined as the ability of a sublethal pretreatment with a reactive oxygen species to activate defense responses that subsequently enhance survival of that stress. C. reinhardtii exhibited a strong acclimation response to rose bengal, a photosensitizing dye that produces singlet oxygen. This acclimation was dependent upon photosensitization and occurred only when pretreatment was administered in the light. Shifting cells from low light to high light also enhanced resistance to singlet oxygen, suggesting an overlap in high-light and singlet oxygen response pathways. Microarray analysis of RNA levels indicated that a relatively small number of genes respond to sublethal levels of singlet oxygen. Constitutive overexpression of either of two such genes, a glutathione peroxidase gene and a glutathione S-transferase gene, was sufficient to enhance singlet oxygen resistance. Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae exhibit well-defined responses to reactive oxygen but did not acclimate to singlet oxygen, possibly reflecting the relative importance of singlet oxygen stress for photosynthetic organisms.
Sealed Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cultures evolve significant amounts of hydrogen gas under conditions of sulfur depletion. However, the eukaryotic green alga goes through drastic metabolic changes during this nutritional stress resulting in cell growth inhibition and eventually cell death. This study aimed at isolating C. reinhardtii transformants which produce hydrogen under normal growth conditions to allow a continuous hydrogen metabolism without the stressful impact of nutrient deprivation.
To achieve a steady photobiological hydrogen production, a screening protocol was designed to identify C. reinhardtii DNA insertional mutagenesis transformants with an attenuated photosynthesis to respiration capacity ratio (P/R ratio). The screening protocol entails a new and fast method for mutant strain selection altered in their oxygen production/consumption balance. Out of 9000 transformants, four strains with P/R ratios varying from virtually zero to three were isolated. Strain apr1 was found to have a slightly higher respiration rate and a significantly lower photosynthesis rate than the wild type. Sealed cultures of apr1 became anaerobic in normal growth medium (TAP) under moderate light conditions and induced [FeFe]-hydrogenase activity, yet without significant hydrogen gas evolution. However, Calvin-Benson cycle inactivation of anaerobically adapted apr1 cells in the light led to a 2-3-fold higher in vivo hydrogen production than previously reported for the sulfur-deprived C. reinhardtii wild type.
Attenuated P/R capacity ratio in microalgal mutants constitutes a platform for achieving steady state photobiological hydrogen production. Using this platform, algal hydrogen metabolism can be analyzed without applying nutritional stress. Furthermore, these strains promise to be useful for biotechnological hydrogen generation, since high in vivo hydrogen production rates are achievable under normal growth conditions, when the photosynthesis to respiration capacity ratio is lowered in parallel to down regulated assimilative pathways.
Singlet oxygen is one of several reactive oxygen species that can destroy biomolecules, microorganisms and other cells. Traditionally, the response to singlet oxygen has been termed photo-oxidative stress, as light-dependent processes in photosynthetic cells are major biological sources of singlet oxygen. Recent work identifying a core set of singlet oxygen stress response genes across various bacterial species highlights the importance of this response for survival by both photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic cells. Here, we review how bacterial cells mount a transcriptional response to photo-oxidative stress in the context of what is known about bacterial stress responses to other reactive oxygen species.
Like a majority of photosynthetic microorganisms, the green unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii may encounter O2 deprived conditions on a regular basis. In response to anaerobiosis or in a respiration defective context, the photosynthetic electron transport chain of Chlamydomonas is remodeled by a state transition process to a conformation that favours the photoproduction of ATP at the expense of reductant synthesis. In some unicellular green algae including Chlamydomonas, anoxia also triggers the induction of a chloroplast-located, oxygen sensitive hydrogenase, which accepts electrons from reduced ferredoxin to convert protons into molecular hydrogen. Although microalgal hydrogen evolution has received much interest for its biotechnological potential, its physiological role remains unclear. By using specific Chlamydomonas mutants, we demonstrate that the state transition ability and the hydrogenase function are both critical for induction of photosynthesis in anoxia. These two processes are thus important for survival of the cells when they are transiently placed in an anaerobic environment.
Can Arabidopsis cell suspension cultures (ACSC) provide a useful working model to investigate genetically-controlled defense responses with signaling cascades starting in chloroplasts? In order to provide a convincing answer, we analyzed the early transcriptional profile of Arabidopsis cells at high light (HL). The results showed that ACSC respond to HL in a manner that resembles the singlet oxygen (1O2)-mediated defense responses described for the conditional fluorescent (flu) mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana. The flu mutant is characterized by the accumulation of free protochlorophyllide (Pchlide) in plastids when put into darkness and the subsequent production of 1O2 when the light is on. In ACSC, 1O2 is produced in chloroplasts at HL when excess excitation energy flows into photosystem II (PSII). Other reactive oxygen species are also produced in ACSC at HL, but to a lesser extent. When the HL stress ceases, ACSC recovers the initial rate of oxygen evolution and cell growth continues. We can conclude that chloroplasts of ACSC are both photosynthetically active and capable of initiating 1O2-mediated signaling cascades that activate a broad range of genetically-controlled defense responses. The upregulation of transcripts associated with the biosynthesis and signaling pathways of OPDA (12-oxophytodienoic acid) and ethylene (ET) suggests that the activated defense responses at HL are governed by these two hormones. In contrast to the flu mutant, the 1O2-mediated defense responses were independent of the upregulation of EDS1 (enhanced disease susceptibility) required for the accumulation of salicylic acid (SA) and genetically-controlled cell death. Interestingly, a high correlation in transcriptional expression was also observed between ACSC at HL, and the aba1 and max4 mutants of Arabidopsis, characterized by defects in the biosynthesis pathways of abscisic acid (ABA) and strigolactones, respectively.
Acclimation; Arabidopsis cell culture; cell death; chloroplast; defence responses; high light; hormone stimulus; OPDA (12-oxophytodienoic acid); oxylipins; photosystem II; Reactive oxygen species; singlet oxygen; transcriptional profiling
Background: Photosystem II is an essential component of oxygenic photosynthesis.
Results: Photosystem II is specifically decreased in rubredoxin mutants of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, and the plant Arabidopsis thaliana.
Conclusion: Rubredoxin is required for photosystem II, and not photosystem I, accumulation in these organisms.
Significance: Rubredoxin was likely important in the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis.
In oxygenic photosynthesis, two photosystems work in tandem to harvest light energy and generate NADPH and ATP. Photosystem II (PSII), the protein-pigment complex that uses light energy to catalyze the splitting of water, is assembled from its component parts in a tightly regulated process that requires a number of assembly factors. The 2pac mutant of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was isolated and found to have no detectable PSII activity, whereas other components of the photosynthetic electron transport chain, including photosystem I, were still functional. PSII activity was fully restored by complementation with the RBD1 gene, which encodes a small iron-sulfur protein known as a rubredoxin. Phylogenetic evidence supports the hypothesis that this rubredoxin and its orthologs are unique to oxygenic phototrophs and distinct from rubredoxins in Archaea and bacteria (excluding cyanobacteria). Knockouts of the rubredoxin orthologs in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 and the plant Arabidopsis thaliana were also found to be specifically affected in PSII accumulation. Taken together, our data suggest that this rubredoxin is necessary for normal PSII activity in a diverse set of organisms that perform oxygenic photosynthesis.
Arabidopsis; Chlamydomonas; Chloroplast; Electron transport; Iron-sulfur protein; Photosynthesis; Photosystem II; Synechocystis; Rubredoxin
Redox-based regulatory systems are essential for many cellular activities. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii exhibits alterations in motile behavior in response to different light conditions (photokinesis). We hypothesized that photokinesis is signaled by variations in cytoplasmic redox poise resulting from changes in chloroplast activity. We found that this effect requires photosystem I, which generates reduced NADPH. We also observed that photokinetic changes in beat frequency and duration of the photophobic response could be obtained by altering oxidative/reductive stress. Analysis of reactivated cell models revealed that this redox poise effect is mediated through the outer dynein arms (ODAs). Although the global redox state of the thioredoxin-related ODA light chains LC3 and LC5 and the redox-sensitive Ca2+-binding subunit of the docking complex DC3 did not change upon light/dark transitions, we did observe significant alterations in their interactions with other flagellar components via mixed disulfides. These data indicate that redox poise directly affects ODAs and suggest that it may act in the control of flagellar motility.
The involvement of excited and highly reactive intermediates in oxygenic photosynthesis inevitably results in the generation of reactive oxygen species. To protect the photosynthetic apparatus from oxidative damage, xanthophyll pigments are involved in the quenching of excited chlorophyll and reactive oxygen species, namely 1Chl*, 3Chl*, and 1O2*. Quenching of 1Chl* results in harmless dissipation of excitation energy as heat and is measured as non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) of chlorophyll fluorescence. The multiple roles of xanthophylls in photoprotection are being addressed by characterizing mutants of Chlarnydomonas reinhardtii and Arabidopsis thaliana. Analysis of Arabidopsis mutants that are defective in 1Chl* quenching has shown that, in addition to specific xanthophylls, the psbS gene is necessary for NPQ. Double mutants of Chlamydomonas and Arabidopsis that are deficient in zeaxanthin, lutein and NPQ undergo photo-oxidative bleaching in high light. Extragenic suppressors of the Chlamydomonas npq1 lor1 double mutant identify new mutations that restore varying levels of zeaxanthin accumulation and allow survival in high light.
The mutant strain bald-2 is unique among "flagellaless" strains of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii isolated to date, in that it possesses a mutant basal body: it is only capable of forming a ring of nine singlet microtubules, 180 nm in diameter, instead of the usual triplet basal body which is 225 nm in diameter. This singlet basal body lacks structural stability and the ability to associate with striated fiber material but retains two critical properties of basal bodies, namely, information specifying the length to which it should elongate and the ability to induce, albeit rarely, a flagellar transition region, a short, singlet-containing axoneme, and a specialized tunnel in the cell wall through which flagella normally emerge. The mutation seems to be specific for B- and C-microtubule synthesis or assembly since all other cytoplasmic sets of microtubules appear normal in numbers, orientation, and stability.
Several species of unicellular green algae, such as the model green microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, can operate under either aerobic photosynthesis or anaerobic metabolism conditions. A particularly interesting metabolic condition is that of “anaerobic oxygenic photosynthesis”, whereby photosynthetically generated oxygen is consumed by the cell’s own respiration, causing anaerobiosis in the culture in the light, and induction of the cellular “hydrogen metabolism” process. The latter entails an alternative photosynthetic electron transport pathway, through the oxygen-sensitive FeFe-hydrogenase, leading to the light-dependent generation of molecular hydrogen in the chloroplast. The FeFe-hydrogenase is coupled to the reducing site of photosystem-I via ferredoxin and is employed as an electron-pressure valve, through which electrons are dissipated, thus permitting a sustained electron transport in the thylakoid membrane of photosynthesis. This hydrogen gas generating process in the cells offers testimony to the unique photosynthetic metabolism that can be found in many species of green microalgae. Moreover, it has attracted interest by the biotechnology and bioenergy sectors, as it promises utilization of green microalgae and the process of photosynthesis in renewable energy production. This article provides an overview of the principles of photobiological hydrogen production in microalgae and addresses in detail the process of induction and analysis of the hydrogen metabolism in the cells. Furthermore, methods are discussed by which the interaction of photosynthesis, respiration, cellular metabolism, and H2 production in Chlamydomonas can be monitored and regulated.
Anaerobiosis; Green microalgae; Hydrogen; Photosynthesis; Screening; Sulphur
The response of individual HeLa cells to extracellularly produced singlet oxygen was examined. The spatial domain of singlet oxygen production was controlled using the combination of a membrane-impermeable Pd porphyrin-dendrimer, which served as a photosensitizer, and a focused laser, which served to localize the sensitized production of singlet oxygen. Cells in close proximity to the domain of singlet oxygen production showed morphological changes commonly associated with necrotic cell death. The elapsed post-irradiation “waiting period” before necrosis became apparent depended on (a) the distance between the cell membrane and the domain irradiated, (b) the incident laser fluence and, as such, the initial concentration of singlet oxygen produced, and (c) the lifetime of singlet oxygen. The data imply that singlet oxygen plays a key role in this process of light-induced cell death. The approach of using extracellularly-generated singlet oxygen to induce cell death can provide a solution to a problem that often limits mechanistic studies of intracellularly photosensitized cell death: it can be difficult to quantify the effective light dose, and hence singlet oxygen concentration, when using an intracellular photosensitizer.
A gene encoding a putative guanosine 3′,5′-bispyrophosphate (ppGpp) synthase–degradase, designated Cr-RSH, was identified in the unicellular photosynthetic eukaryote Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The encoded Cr-RSH protein possesses a putative chloroplast-targeting signal at its NH2-terminus, and translocation of Cr-RSH into chloroplasts isolated from C.reinhardtii was demonstrated in vitro. The predicted mature region of Cr-RSH exhibits marked similarity to eubacterial members of the RelA–SpoT family of proteins. Expression of an NH2-terminal portion of Cr-RSH containing the putative ppGpp synthase domain in a relA, spoT double mutant of Escherichia coli complemented the growth deficits of the mutant cells. Chromatographic analysis of 32P-labeled cellular mononucleotides also revealed that expression of Cr-RSH in the mutant bacterial cells resulted in the synthesis of ppGpp. SpoT, which catalyzes (p)ppGpp degradation, is dispensable in E.coli only if cells also lack RelA, which possesses (p)ppGpp synthase activity. The complementation analysis thus indicated that Cr-RSH possesses both ppGpp synthase and degradase activities. These results represent the first demonstration of ppGpp synthase–degradase activities in a eukaryotic organism, and they suggest that eubacterial stringent control mediated by ppGpp has been conserved during evolution of the chloroplast from a photosynthetic bacterial symbiont.
It is thought that direct quenching of singlet oxygen and scavenging free radicals by macular pigment carotenoids is a major mechanism for their beneficial effects against light-induced oxidative stress. Corresponding data from human tissue remains unavailable, however. In the studies reported here, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy was used to measure light-induced singlet oxygen generation in postmortem human macula and retinal pigment epithelium/choroid (RPE/choroid). Under white-light illumination, production of singlet oxygen was detected in RPE/choroid but not in macular tissue, and we show that exogenously added macular carotenoids can quench RPE/choroid singlet oxygen. When the singlet oxygen quenching ability of the macular carotenoids was investigated in solution, it was shown that a mixture of meso-zeaxanthin, zeaxanthin, and lutein in a ratio of 1:1:1 can quench more singlet oxygen than the individual carotenoids at the same total concentration.
Human macula; singlet oxygen; electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR)
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are unavoidable by-products of oxygenic photosynthesis, causing progressive oxidative damage and ultimately cell death. Despite their destructive activity they are also signalling molecules, priming the acclimatory response to stress stimuli.
To investigate this role further, we exposed wild type Arabidopsis thaliana plants and the double mutant npq1lut2 to excess light. The mutant does not produce the xanthophylls lutein and zeaxanthin, whose key roles include ROS scavenging and prevention of ROS synthesis. Biochemical analysis revealed that singlet oxygen (1O2) accumulated to higher levels in the mutant while other ROS were unaffected, allowing to define the transcriptomic signature of the acclimatory response mediated by 1O2 which is enhanced by the lack of these xanthophylls species. The group of genes differentially regulated in npq1lut2 is enriched in sequences encoding chloroplast proteins involved in cell protection against the damaging effect of ROS. Among the early fine-tuned components, are proteins involved in tetrapyrrole biosynthesis, chlorophyll catabolism, protein import, folding and turnover, synthesis and membrane insertion of photosynthetic subunits. Up to now, the flu mutant was the only biological system adopted to define the regulation of gene expression by 1O2. In this work, we propose the use of mutants accumulating 1O2 by mechanisms different from those activated in flu to better identify ROS signalling.
We propose that the lack of zeaxanthin and lutein leads to 1O2 accumulation and this represents a signalling pathway in the early stages of stress acclimation, beside the response to ADP/ATP ratio and to the redox state of both plastoquinone pool. Chloroplasts respond to 1O2 accumulation by undergoing a significant change in composition and function towards a fast acclimatory response. The physiological implications of this signalling specificity are discussed.
Photosynthetic organisms synthesize carotenoids for harvesting light energy, photoprotection, and maintaining the structure and function of photosynthetic membranes. A light-sensitive, phytoene-accumulating mutant, pds1-1, was isolated in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and found to be genetically linked to the phytoene desaturase (PDS) gene. PDS catalyzes the second step in carotenoid biosynthesis—the conversion of phytoene to ζ-carotene. Decreased accumulation of downstream colored carotenoids suggested that the pds1-1 mutant is leaky for PDS activity. A screen for enhancers of the pds1-1 mutation yielded the pds1-2 allele, which completely lacks PDS activity. A second independent null mutant (pds1-3) was identified using DNA insertional mutagenesis. Both null mutants accumulate only phytoene and no other carotenoids. All three phytoene-accumulating mutants exhibited slower growth rates and reduced plating efficiency compared to wild-type cells and white phytoene synthase mutants. Insight into amino acid residues important for PDS activity was obtained through the characterization of intragenic suppressors of pds1-2. The suppressor mutants fell into three classes: revertants of the pds1-1 point mutation, mutations that changed PDS amino acid residue Pro64 to Phe, and mutations that converted PDS residue Lys90 to Met. Characterization of pds1-2 intragenic suppressors coupled with computational structure prediction of PDS suggest that amino acids at positions 90 and 143 are in close contact in the active PDS enzyme and have important roles in its structural stability and/or activity.
Under dark anoxia, the unicellular green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii may produce hydrogen by means of its hydrogenase enzymes, in particular HYD1, using reductants derived from the degradation of intercellular carbon stores. Other enzymes belonging to the fermentative pathways compete for the same reductants. A complete understanding of the mechanisms determining the activation of one pathway rather than another will help us engineer Chlamydomonas for fermentative metabolite production, including hydrogen. We examined the expression pattern of the fermentative genes PDC3, LDH1, ADH2, PFL1, and PFR1 in response to day-night cycles, continuous light, continuous darkness, and low or high oxygen availability, which are all conditions that vary on a regular basis in Chlamydomonas' natural environment. We found that all genes except PFL1 show daily fluctuations in expression, and that PFR1 differentiated itself from the others in that it is clearly responsive to low oxygen, where as PDC3, LDH1, and ADH2 are primarily under diurnal regulation. Our results provide evidence that there exist at least three different regulatory mechanisms within the fermentative pathways and suggest that the fermentative pathways are not redundant but rather that availability of a variety of pathways allows for a differential metabolic response to different environmental conditions.
Several regulators are controlling the formation of the photosynthetic apparatus in the facultatively photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides. Among the proteins affecting photosynthesis gene expression is the blue light photoreceptor cryptochrome CryB. This study addresses the effect of CryB on global gene expression. The data reveal that CryB does not only influence photosynthesis gene expression but also genes for the non-photosynthetic energy metabolism like citric acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. In addition several genes involved in RNA processing and in transcriptional regulation are affected by a cryB deletion. Although CryB was shown to undergo a photocycle it does not only affect gene expression in response to blue light illumination but also in response to singlet oxygen stress conditions. While there is a large overlap in these responses, some CryB-dependent effects are specific for blue-light or photooxidative stress. In addition to protein-coding genes some genes for sRNAs show CryB-dependent expression. These findings give new insight into the function of bacterial cryptochromes and demonstrate for the first time a function in the oxidative stress response.
The molecular function of mTERFs (mitochondrial transcription termination factors) has so far only been described for metazoan members of the protein family and in animals they control mitochondrial replication, transcription and translation. Cells of photosynthetic eukaryotes harbour chloroplasts and mitochondria, which are in an intense cross-talk that is vital for photosynthesis. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a unicellular green alga widely used as a model organism for photosynthesis research and green biotechnology. Among the six nuclear C. reinhardtii mTERF genes is mTERF-like gene of Chlamydomonas (MOC1), whose inactivation alters mitorespiration and interestingly also light-acclimation processes in the chloroplast that favour the enhanced production of biohydrogen. We show here from in vitro studies that MOC1 binds specifically to a sequence within the mitochondrial rRNA-coding module S3, and that a knockout of MOC1 in the mutant stm6 increases read-through transcription at this site, indicating that MOC1 acts as a transcription terminator in vivo. Whereas the level of certain antisense RNA species is higher in stm6, the amount of unprocessed mitochondrial sense transcripts is strongly reduced, demonstrating that a loss of MOC1 causes perturbed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) expression. Overall, we provide evidence for the existence of mitochondrial antisense RNAs in C. reinhardtii and show that mTERF-mediated transcription termination is an evolutionary-conserved mechanism occurring in phototrophic protists and metazoans.
Deflagellation of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, and other flagellated and ciliated cells, is a highly specific process that involves signal-induced severing of the outer doublet microtubules at a precise site in the transition region between the axoneme and basal body. Although the machinery of deflagellation is activated by Ca2+, the mechanism of microtubule severing is unknown. Severing of singlet microtubules has been observed in vitro to be catalyzed by katanin, a heterodimeric adenosine triphosphatase that can remove tubulin subunits from the walls of stable microtubules. We found that purified katanin induced an ATP-dependent severing of the Chlamydomonas axoneme. Using Western blot analysis and indirect immunofluorescence, we demonstrate that Chlamydomonas expresses a protein that is recognized by an anti-human katanin antibody and that this protein is localized, at least in part, to the basal body complex. Using an in vitro severing assay, we show that the protein(s) responsible for Ca2+-activated outer doublet severing purify with the flagellar-basal body complex. Furthermore, deflagellation of purified flagellar-basal body complexes is significantly blocked by the anti-katanin antibody. Taken together, these data suggest that a katanin-like mechanism may mediate the severing of the outer doublet microtubules during Chlamydomonas deflagellation.
Translational regulation has been identified as one of the key steps in chloroplast-encoded gene expression. Genetic and biochemical analysis with Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has implicated nucleus-encoded factors that interact specifically with the 5' untranslated region of chloroplast mRNAs to mediate light-activated translation. F35 is a nuclear mutation in C. reinhardtii that specifically affects translation of the psbA mRNA (encoding D1, a core polypeptide of photosystem II), causing a photosynthetic deficiency in the mutant strain. The F35 mutant has reduced ribosome association of the psbA mRNA as a result of decreased translation initiation. This reduction in ribosome association correlates with a decrease in the stability of the mRNA. Binding activity of the psbA specific protein complex to the 5' untranslated region of the mRNA is diminished in F35 cells, and two members of this binding complex (RB47 and RB55) are reduced compared with the wild type. These data suggest that alteration of members of the psbA mRNA binding complex in F35 cells results in a reduction in psbA mRNA-protein complex formation, thereby causing a decrease in translation initiation of this mRNA.
In Rhizobia the Irr protein is an important regulator for iron-dependent gene expression. We studied the role of the Irr homolog RSP_3179 in the photosynthetic alpha-proteobacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides. While Irr had little effect on growth under iron-limiting or non-limiting conditions its deletion resulted in increased resistance to hydrogen peroxide and singlet oxygen. This correlates with an elevated expression of katE for catalase in the Irr mutant compared to the wild type under non-stress conditions. Transcriptome studies revealed that Irr affects the expression of genes for iron metabolism, but also has some influence on genes involved in stress response, citric acid cycle, oxidative phosphorylation, transport, and photosynthesis. Most genes showed higher expression levels in the wild type than in the mutant under normal growth conditions indicating an activator function of Irr. Irr was however not required to activate genes of the iron metabolism in response to iron limitation, which showed even stronger induction in the absence of Irr. This was also true for genes mbfA and ccpA, which were verified as direct targets for Irr. Our results suggest that in R. sphaeroides Irr diminishes the strong induction of genes for iron metabolism under iron starvation.
Expression of the genes of the photosystem II (PSII) core polypeptides D1 and D2, of three proteins of the oxygen evolving complex of PSII and of the light harvesting chlorophyll a/b binding proteins (LHCP) has been compared in wild-type (wt) and in the y-1 mutant of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Since wt, but not y-1 cells produce a fully developed photosynthetic system in the dark, comparison of the two has allowed us to distinguish the direct effect of light from the influence of plastid development on gene expression. The PSII core polypeptides and LHCP are nearly undetectable in dark-grown y-1 cells but they accumulate progressively during light induced greening. The levels of these proteins in wt are the same in the light and the dark. The amounts of the proteins of the oxygen evolving complex do not change appreciably in the light or in the dark for both wt and y-1. Steady state levels of chloroplast mRNA encoding the core PSII polypeptides remain nearly constant in the light or the dark and are not affected by the developmental stage of the plastid. Levels of nuclear encoded mRNAs for the oxygen evolving proteins and of LHCP increase during light growth in wt and y-1. In contrast to wt, synthesis of LHCP proteins is not detectable in y-1 cells in the dark but starts immediately after transfer to light, indicating that LHCP synthesis is controlled by a light-induced factor or process. While the rates of synthesis of D1 and D2 are immediately enhanced by light in wt, this increase occurs only after a lag in y-1 and thus must be dependent on an early light-induced event in the plastid. These results show that the biosynthesis of PSII is affected by light directly, by the stage of plastid development, and by the interaction of light and events associated with plastid development.
Flexibility of chloroplast thylakoid membrane proteins is essential for plant fitness and survival under fluctuating light environments. Phosphorylation of light-harvesting antenna complex II (LHCII) is known to induce dynamic protein reorganization that fine-tunes the rate of energy conversion in each photosystem. However, molecular details of how LHCII phosphorylation causes light energy redistribution throughout thylakoid membranes still remain unclear. By using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, we here determined the LHCII phosphorylation-dependent protein diffusion in thylakoid membranes isolated from the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. As compared to the LHCII dephosphorylation-induced condition, the diffusion coefficient of LHCII increased nearly twofold under the LHCII phosphorylation-induced condition. We also verified the results by using the LHCII phosphorylation-deficient mutant. Our observation suggests that LHCII phosphorylation-dependent protein reorganization occurs along with the changes in the rate of protein diffusion, which would have an important role in mediating light energy redistribution throughout thylakoid membranes.
Arylsulfatase, produced by Chlamydomonas reinhardtii during sulfur-limited growth, is secreted into the periplasmic space and is readily assayed using a chromogenic substrate. To assess the usefulness of the gene encoding arylsulfatase (ars) as a reporter gene in C. reinhardtii, we have fused the promoter region of the beta 2-tubulin gene (tubB2) to the coding region of an ars genomic clone to form a tubB2/ars chimeric sequence. This construct was introduced into C. reinhardtii, strain CC425 (cw-15, arg-2), via cotransformation with the argininosuccinate lyase gene (which complements the arg-2 lesion) (1). Transformants expressing arylsulfatase (Ars) in sulfur-sufficient medium were isolated and subsequently shown to contain the tubB2/ars gene. RNA analysis determined that tubB2/ars transcripts accumulated in these cells. Abundance of the chimeric transcript increased immediately following deflagellation in a manner similar to that of the endogenous tubB2 transcript. Thus, chimeric genes incorporating ars coding sequences and heterologous promoters can be used to examine regulated gene expression in C. reinhardtii.
There is a particularly high interest to derive carotenoids such as β-carotene and lutein from higher plants and algae for the global market. It is well known that β-carotene can be overproduced in the green microalga Dunaliella salina in response to stressful light conditions. However, little is known about the effects of light quality on carotenoid metabolism, e.g., narrow spectrum red light. In this study, we present UPLC-UV-MS data from D. salina consistent with the pathway proposed for carotenoid metabolism in the green microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. We have studied the effect of red light-emitting diode (LED) lighting on growth rate and biomass yield and identified the optimal photon flux for D. salina growth. We found that the major carotenoids changed in parallel to the chlorophyll b content and that red light photon stress alone at high level was not capable of upregulating carotenoid accumulation presumably due to serious photodamage. We have found that combining red LED (75 %) with blue LED (25 %) allowed growth at a higher total photon flux. Additional blue light instead of red light led to increased β-carotene and lutein accumulation, and the application of long-term iterative stress (adaptive laboratory evolution) yielded strains of D. salina with increased accumulation of carotenoids under combined blue and red light.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00253-012-4502-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Dunaliella salina; Adaptive laboratory evolution; β-carotene and lutein; Carotenoid metabolism; LED-based photobioreactor