Current Research and Scholarly Interests
How photosynthetic organisms perceive and respond to their environment
How photosynthetic organisms perceive and respond to their environment
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is well adapted to survive under different environmental conditions due to the unique flexibility of its metabolism. Here we report metabolic pathways that are active during acclimation to anoxia, but were previously not thoroughly studied under dark, anoxic H2-producing conditions in this model green alga. Proteomic analyses, using 2D-differential in-gel electrophoresis in combination with shotgun mass fingerprinting, revealed increased levels of proteins involved in the glycolytic pathway downstream of 3-phosphoglycerate, the glyoxylate pathway, and steps of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) reactions. Upregulation of the enzyme, isocitrate lyase (ICL), was observed, which was accompanied by increased intracellular succinate levels, suggesting the functioning of glyoxylate pathway reactions. The ICL-inhibitor study revealed presence of reverse TCA reactions under these conditions. Contributions of the serine-isocitrate lyase pathway, glycine cleavage system, and c1-THF/serine hydroxymethyltransferase pathway in the acclimation to dark anoxia were found. We also observed increased levels of amino acids (AAs) suggesting nitrogen reorganization in the form of de novo AA biosynthesis during anoxia. Overall, novel routes for reductant utilization, in combination with redistribution of carbon and nitrogen, are used by this alga during acclimation to O2 deprivation in the dark.
View details for DOI 10.1021/pr500342j
View details for Web of Science ID 000346039400014
View details for PubMedID 25333711
Forward genetics was used to isolate Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutants with altered abilities to acclimate to sulfur (S) deficiency. The ars76 mutant has a deletion that eliminates several genes, including VACUOLAR TRANSPORTER CHAPERONE1 (VTC1), which encodes a component of a polyphosphate polymerase complex. The ars76 mutant cannot accumulate arylsulfatase protein or mRNA and shows marked alterations in levels of many transcripts encoded by genes induced during S deprivation. The mutant also shows little acidocalcisome formation compared with wild-type, S-deprived cells and dies more rapidly than wild-type cells following exposure to S-, phosphorus-, or nitrogen (N)-deficient conditions. Furthermore, the mutant does not accumulate periplasmic L-amino acid oxidase during N deprivation. Introduction of the VTC1 gene specifically complements the ars76 phenotypes, suggesting that normal acidocalcisome formation in cells deprived of S requires VTC1. Our data also indicate that a deficiency in acidocalcisome function impacts trafficking of periplasmic proteins, which can then feed back on the transcription of the genes encoding these proteins. These results and the reported function of vacuoles in degradation processes suggest a major role of the acidocalcisome in reshaping the cell during acclimation to changing environmental conditions.
View details for DOI 10.1105/tpc.114.129270
View details for Web of Science ID 000345920900031
View details for PubMedID 25281687
Based on comparative genomics, a list of proteins present in the green algal, flowering and nonflowering plant lineages, but not detected in nonphotosynthetic organisms, was assembled (Merchant et al., Science 318:245-250, 2007; Karpowicz et al., J Biol Chem 286:21427-21439, 2011). This protein grouping, previously designated the GreenCut, was established using stringent comparative genomic criteria; they are those Chlamydomonas reinhardtii proteins with orthologs in Arabidopsis thaliana, Physcomitrella patens, Oryza sativa, Populus tricocarpa and at least one of the three Ostreococcus species with fully sequenced genomes, but not in bacteria, yeast, fungi or mammals. Many GreenCut proteins are also present in red algae and diatoms and a subset of 189 have been identified as encoded on nearly all cyanobacterial genomes. Of the current GreenCut proteins (597 in total), approximately half have been studied previously. The functions or activities of a number of these proteins have been deduced from phenotypic analyses of mutants (defective for genes encoding specific GreenCut proteins) of A. thaliana, and in many cases the assigned functions do not exist in C. reinhardtii. Therefore, precise physiological functions of several previously studied GreenCut proteins are still not clear. The GreenCut also contains a number of proteins with certain conserved domains. Three of the most highly conserved domains are the FK506 binding, cyclophilin and PAP fibrillin domains; most members of these gene families are not well characterized. In general, our analysis of the GreenCut indicates that many processes critical to green lineage organisms remain unstudied or poorly characterized. We have begun to examine the functions of some GreenCut proteins in detail. For example, our work on the CPLD38 protein has demonstrated that it has an essential role in photosynthetic function and the stability of the cytochrome b 6 f complex.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11120-013-9882-6
View details for Web of Science ID 000325848800022
View details for PubMedID 23873414
In this study, we develop a mechanistic understanding of how temperature affects growth and photosynthesis in 10 geographically and physiologically diverse strains of Synechococcus spp. We found that Synechococcus spp. are able to regulate photochemistry over a range of temperatures by using state transitions and altering the abundance of photosynthetic proteins. These strategies minimize photosystem II (PSII) photodamage by keeping the photosynthetic electron transport chain (ETC), and hence PSII reaction centers, more oxidized. At temperatures that approach the optimal growth temperature of each strain when cellular demand for reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) is greatest, the phycobilisome (PBS) antenna associates with PSII, increasing the flux of electrons into the ETC. By contrast, under low temperature, when slow growth lowers the demand for NADPH and linear ETC declines, the PBS associates with photosystem I. This favors oxidation of PSII and potential increase in cyclic electron flow. For Synechococcus sp. WH8102, growth at higher temperatures led to an increase in the abundance of PBS pigment proteins, as well as higher abundance of subunits of the PSII, photosystem I, and cytochrome b6f complexes. This would allow cells to increase photosynthetic electron flux to meet the metabolic requirement for NADPH during rapid growth. These PBS-based temperature acclimation strategies may underlie the larger geographic range of this group relative to Prochlorococcus spp., which lack a PBS.
View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.113.221937
View details for Web of Science ID 000325554100033
View details for PubMedID 23950220
The global decline of reef-building corals is due in part to the loss of algal symbionts, or "bleaching," during the increasingly frequent periods of high seawater temperatures [1, 2]. During bleaching, endosymbiotic dinoflagellate algae (Symbiodinium spp.) either are lost from the animal tissue or lose their photosynthetic pigments, resulting in host mortality if the Symbiodinium populations fail to recover . The >1,000 studies of the causes of heat-induced bleaching have focused overwhelmingly on the consequences of damage to algal photosynthetic processes [4-6], and the prevailing model for bleaching invokes a light-dependent generation of toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) by heat-damaged chloroplasts as the primary trigger [6-8]. However, the precise mechanisms of bleaching remain unknown, and there is evidence for involvement of multiple cellular processes [9, 10]. In this study, we asked the simple question of whether bleaching can be triggered by heat in the dark, in the absence of photosynthetically derived ROS. We used both the sea anemone model system Aiptasia [11, 12] and several species of reef-building corals to demonstrate that symbiont loss can occur rapidly during heat stress in complete darkness. Furthermore, we observed damage to the photosynthetic apparatus under these conditions in both Aiptasia endosymbionts and cultured Symbiodinium. These results do not directly contradict the view that light-stimulated ROS production is important in bleaching, but they do show that there must be another pathway leading to bleaching. Elucidation of this pathway should help to clarify bleaching mechanisms under the more usual conditions of heat stress in the light.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2013.07.041
View details for Web of Science ID 000326198800021
View details for PubMedID 24012312
Synechococcus OS-B' , a thermophilic unicellular cyanobacterium, recently isolated from the microbial mats in Octopus Spring (Yellowstone National Park), induces a suite of genes, including phosphatases and transporters, in response to phosphorus (P) starvation. Here we describe two different approaches to examine the ability of Synechococcus OS-B' to synthesize and breakdown polyphosphate (poly P), a key storage compound in many prokaryotes. First, we developed a transformation protocol to create mutants in the polyphosphate kinase (ppk), the major enzyme responsible for the synthesis of poly P. The ppk mutant exhibited a pleiotropic phenotype with defects in poly P accumulation, aberrant levels of pho regulon transcripts, growth defects and changes in cell size and exopolysaccharide levels, among others. Second, we measured transcripts of ppk and ppx (encoding the polyphosphatase) directly from mat samples and found that the levels varied dramatically over a diel cycle. We also used Western blot analysis to quantify levels of PPK and PPX and found that these enzymes differentially accumulated during the diel cycle. Levels of polyphosphate kinase peaked at night, while polyphosphatase levels were highest during the early morning hours. We hypothesize that the opposing activities of these two enzymes allow cells to store and utilize poly P to optimize growth over a diel cycle.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JB.00207-13
View details for Web of Science ID 000321559400002
View details for PubMedID 23687278
During sulfur (S) deprivation, the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii exhibits increased expression of numerous genes. These genes encode proteins associated with sulfate (SO4(2-)) acquisition and assimilation, alterations in cellular metabolism, and internal S recycling. Administration of the cytoplasmic translational inhibitor cycloheximide prevents S deprivation-triggered accumulation of transcripts encoding arylsulfatases (ARS), an extracellular polypeptide that may be important for cell wall biosynthesis (ECP76), a light-harvesting protein (LHCBM9), the selenium-binding protein, and the haloperoxidase (HAP2). In contrast, the rapid accumulation of transcripts encoding high-affinity SO4(2-) transporters is not affected. These results suggest that there are two tiers of transcriptional regulation associated with S deprivation responses: the first is protein synthesis independent, while the second requires de novo protein synthesis. A mutant designated ars73a exhibited low ARS activity and failed to show increases in ECP76, LHCBM9, and HAP2 transcripts (among others) in response to S deprivation; increases in transcripts encoding the SO4(2-) transporters were not affected. These results suggest that the ARS73a protein, which has no known activity but might be a transcriptional regulator, is required for the expression of genes associated with the second tier of transcriptional regulation. Analysis of the ars73a strain has helped us generate a model that incorporates a number of complexities associated with S deprivation responses in C. reinhardtii.
View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.113.214593
View details for Web of Science ID 000318547900016
View details for PubMedID 23482872
Macroalgae harbor microbial communities whose bacterial biodiversity remains largely uncharacterized. The goals of this study were 1) to examine the composition of the bacterial community associated with Porphyra umbilicalis Kützing from Schoodic Point, ME, 2) determine whether there are seasonal trends in species diversity but a core group of bacteria that are always present, and 3) to determine how the microbial community associated with a laboratory strain (P.um.1) established in the presence of antibiotics has changed. P. umbilicalis blades (n?=?5, fall 2010; n?=?5, winter 2011; n?=?2, clonal P.um.1) were analyzed by pyrosequencing over two variable regions of the 16 S rDNA (V5-V6 and V8; 147,880 total reads). The bacterial taxa present were classified at an 80% confidence threshold into eight phyla (Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria, Planctomycetes, Chloroflexi, Actinobacteria, Deinococcus-Thermus, Firmicutes, and the candidate division TM7). The Bacteroidetes comprised the majority of bacterial sequences on both field and lab blades, but the Proteobacteria (Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria) were also abundant. Sphingobacteria (Bacteroidetes) and Flavobacteria (Bacteroidetes) had inverse abundances on natural versus P.um.1 blades. Bacterial communities were richer and more diverse on blades sampled in fall compared to winter. Significant differences were observed between microbial communities among all three groups of blades examined. Only two OTUs were found on all 12 blades, and only one of these, belonging to the Saprospiraceae (Bacteroidetes), was abundant. Lewinella (as 66 OTUs) was found on all field blades and was the most abundant genus. Bacteria from the Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria and Planctomycetes that are known to digest the galactan sulfates of red algal cell walls were well-represented. Some of these taxa likely provide essential morphogenetic and beneficial nutritive factors to P. umbilicalis and may have had unexpected effects upon evolution of macroalgal form as well as function.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0058269
View details for Web of Science ID 000317562600016
View details for PubMedID 23526971
Based on previous comparative genomic analyses, a set of nearly 600 polypeptides was identified that is present in green algae and flowering and nonflowering plants but is not present (or is highly diverged) in nonphotosynthetic organisms. The gene encoding one of these "GreenCut" proteins, CPLD38, is in the same operon as ndhL in most cyanobacteria; the NdhL protein is part of a complex essential for cyanobacterial respiration. A cpld38 mutant of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii does not grow on minimal medium, is high light-sensitive under photoheterotrophic conditions, has lower accumulation of photosynthetic complexes, reduced photosynthetic electron flow to P700(+), and reduced photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (ΦPSII); these phenotypes are rescued by a wild-type copy of CPLD38. Single turnover flash experiments and biochemical analyses demonstrated that cytochrome b6f function was severely compromised, and the levels of transcripts and polypeptide subunits of the cytochrome b6f complex were also significantly lower in the cpld38 mutant. Furthermore, subunits of the cytochrome b6f complex in mutant cells turned over much more rapidly than in wild-type cells. Interestingly, PTOX2 and NDA2, two major proteins involved in chlororespiration, were more than 5-fold higher in mutants relative to wild-type cells, suggesting a shift in the cpld38 mutant from photosynthesis toward chlororespiratory metabolism, which is supported by experiments that quantify the reduction state of the plastoquinone pool. Together, these findings support the hypothesis that CPLD38 impacts the stability of the cytochrome b6f complex and possibly plays a role in balancing redox inputs to the quinone pool from photosynthesis and chlororespiration.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M112.427476
View details for Web of Science ID 000316002400024
The maintenance of functional chloroplasts in photosynthetic eukaryotes requires real-time coordination of the nuclear and plastid genomes. Tetrapyrroles play a significant role in plastid-to-nucleus retrograde signaling in plants to ensure that nuclear gene expression is attuned to the needs of the chloroplast. Well-known sites of synthesis of chlorophyll for photosynthesis, plant chloroplasts also export heme and heme-derived linear tetrapyrroles (bilins), two critical metabolites respectively required for essential cellular activities and for light sensing by phytochromes. Here we establish that Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, one of many chlorophyte species that lack phytochromes, can synthesize bilins in both plastid and cytosol compartments. Genetic analyses show that both pathways contribute to iron acquisition from extracellular heme, whereas the plastid-localized pathway is essential for light-dependent greening and phototrophic growth. Our discovery of a bilin-dependent nuclear gene network implicates a widespread use of bilins as retrograde signals in oxygenic photosynthetic species. Our studies also suggest that bilins trigger critical metabolic pathways to detoxify molecular oxygen produced by photosynthesis, thereby permitting survival and phototrophic growth during the light period.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1222375110
View details for Web of Science ID 000315841900082
View details for PubMedID 23345435
Fermentation or anoxic metabolism allows unicellular organisms to colonize environments that become anoxic. Free-living unicellular algae capable of a photoautotrophic lifestyle can also use a range of metabolic circuitry associated with different branches of fermentation metabolism. While algae that perform mixed-acid fermentation are widespread, the use of anaerobic respiration is more typical of eukaryotic heterotrophs. The occurrence of a core set of fermentation pathways among the algae provides insights into the evolutionary origins of these pathways, which were likely derived from a common ancestral eukaryote. Based on genomic, transcriptomic, and biochemical studies, anaerobic energy metabolism has been examined in more detail in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Chlamydomonas) than in any other photosynthetic protist. This green alga is metabolically flexible and can sustain energy generation and maintain cellular redox balance under a variety of different environmental conditions. Fermentation metabolism in Chlamydomonas appears to be highly controlled, and the flexible use of the different branches of fermentation metabolism has been demonstrated in studies of various metabolic mutants. Additionally, when Chlamydomonas ferments polysaccharides, it has the ability to eliminate part of the reductant (to sustain glycolysis) through the production of H2, a molecule that can be developed as a source of renewable energy. To date, little is known about the specific role(s) of the different branches of fermentation metabolism, how photosynthetic eukaryotes sense changes in environmental O2 levels, and the mechanisms involved in controlling these responses, at both the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. In this review, we focus on fermentation metabolism in Chlamydomonas and other protists, with only a brief discussion of plant fermentation when relevant, since it is thoroughly discussed in other articles in this volume.
View details for DOI 10.3389/fpls.2013.00150
View details for PubMedID 23734158
Cryptochromes are flavoproteins that act as sensory blue light receptors in insects, plants, fungi, and bacteria. We have investigated a cryptochrome from the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii with sequence homology to animal cryptochromes and (6-4) photolyases. In response to blue and red light exposure, this animal-like cryptochrome (aCRY) alters the light-dependent expression of various genes encoding proteins involved in chlorophyll and carotenoid biosynthesis, light-harvesting complexes, nitrogen metabolism, cell cycle control, and the circadian clock. Additionally, exposure to yellow but not far-red light leads to comparable increases in the expression of specific genes; this expression is significantly reduced in an acry insertional mutant. These in vivo effects are congruent with in vitro data showing that blue, yellow, and red light, but not far-red light, are absorbed by the neutral radical state of flavin in aCRY. The aCRY neutral radical is formed following blue light absorption of the oxidized flavin. Red illumination leads to conversion to the fully reduced state. Our data suggest that aCRY is a functionally important blue and red light-activated flavoprotein. The broad spectral response implies that the neutral radical state functions as a dark form in aCRY and expands the paradigm of flavoproteins and cryptochromes as blue light sensors to include other light qualities.
View details for DOI 10.1105/tpc.112.098947
View details for Web of Science ID 000308352800023
View details for PubMedID 22773746
Algae have recently gained attention as a potential source for biodiesel; however, much is still unknown about the biological triggers that cause the production of triacylglycerols. We used RNA-Seq as a tool for discovering genes responsible for triacylglycerol (TAG) production in Chlamydomonas and for the regulatory components that activate the pathway. Three genes encoding acyltransferases, DGAT1, DGTT1, and PDAT1, are induced by nitrogen starvation and are likely to have a role in TAG accumulation based on their patterns of expression. DGAT1 and DGTT1 also show increased mRNA abundance in other TAG-accumulating conditions (minus sulfur, minus phosphorus, minus zinc, and minus iron). Insertional mutants, pdat1-1 and pdat1-2, accumulate 25% less TAG compared with the parent strain, CC-4425, which demonstrates the relevance of the trans-acylation pathway in Chlamydomonas. The biochemical functions of DGTT1 and PDAT1 were validated by rescue of oleic acid sensitivity and restoration of TAG accumulation in a yeast strain lacking all acyltransferase activity. Time course analyses suggest than a SQUAMOSA promoter-binding protein domain transcription factor, whose mRNA increases precede that of lipid biosynthesis genes like DGAT1, is a candidate regulator of the nitrogen deficiency responses. An insertional mutant, nrr1-1, accumulates only 50% of the TAG compared with the parental strain in nitrogen-starvation conditions and is unaffected by other nutrient stresses, suggesting the specificity of this regulator for nitrogen-deprivation conditions.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M111.334052
View details for Web of Science ID 000304006300061
View details for PubMedID 22403401
Endosymbiotic acquisition of bacteria by a protist, with subsequent evolution of the bacteria into mitochondria and plastids, had a transformative impact on eukaryotic biology. Reconstructing events that created a stable association between endosymbiont and host during the process of organellogenesis--including establishment of regulated protein import into nascent organelles--is difficult because they date back more than 1 billion years. The amoeba Paulinella chromatophora contains nascent photosynthetic organelles of more recent evolutionary origin (?60 Mya) termed chromatophores (CRs). After the initial endosymbiotic event, the CR genome was reduced to approximately 30% of its presumed original size and more than 30 expressed genes were transferred from the CR to the amoebal nuclear genome. Three transferred genes--psaE, psaK1, and psaK2--encode subunits of photosystem I. Here we report biochemical evidence that PsaE, PsaK1, and PsaK2 are synthesized in the amoeba cytoplasm and traffic into CRs, where they assemble with CR-encoded subunits into photosystem I complexes. Additionally, our data suggest that proteins routed to CRs pass through the Golgi apparatus. Whereas genome reduction and transfer of genes from bacterial to host genome have been reported to occur in other obligate bacterial endosymbioses, this report outlines the import of proteins encoded by such transferred genes into the compartment derived from the bacterial endosymbiont. Our study showcases P. chromatophora as an exceptional model in which to study early events in organellogenesis, and suggests that protein import into bacterial endosymbionts might be a phenomenon much more widespread than currently assumed.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1118800109
View details for Web of Science ID 000302294700050
View details for PubMedID 22371600
Membrane transporters play a central role in many cellular processes that rely on the movement of ions and organic molecules between the environment and the cell, and between cellular compartments. Transporters have been well characterized in plants and green algae, but little is known about transporters or their evolutionary histories in the red algae. Here we examined 482 expressed sequence tag contigs that encode putative membrane transporters in the economically important red seaweed Porphyra (Bangiophyceae, Rhodophyta). These contigs are part of a comprehensive transcriptome dataset from Porphyra umbilicalis and Porphyra purpurea. Using phylogenomics, we identified 30 trees that support the expected monophyly of red and green algae/plants (i.e. the Plantae hypothesis) and 19 expressed sequence tag contigs that show evidence of endosymbiotic/horizontal gene transfer involving stramenopiles. The majority (77%) of analyzed contigs encode transporters with unresolved phylogenies, demonstrating the difficulty in resolving the evolutionary history of genes. We observed molecular features of many sodium-coupled transport systems in marine algae, and the potential for coregulation of Porphyra transporter genes that are associated with fatty acid biosynthesis and intracellular lipid trafficking. Although both the tissue-specific and subcellular locations of the encoded proteins require further investigation, our study provides red algal gene candidates associated with transport functions and novel insights into the biology and evolution of these transporters.
View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.112.193896
View details for Web of Science ID 000303001400041
View details for PubMedID 22337920
The green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has numerous genes encoding enzymes that function in fermentative pathways. Among these, the bifunctional alcohol/acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ADH1), highly homologous to the Escherichia coli AdhE enzyme, is proposed to be a key component of fermentative metabolism. To investigate the physiological role of ADH1 in dark anoxic metabolism, a Chlamydomonas adh1 mutant was generated. We detected no ethanol synthesis in this mutant when it was placed under anoxia; the two other ADH homologs encoded on the Chlamydomonas genome do not appear to participate in ethanol production under our experimental conditions. Pyruvate formate lyase, acetate kinase, and hydrogenase protein levels were similar in wild-type cells and the adh1 mutant, while the mutant had significantly more pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase. Furthermore, a marked change in metabolite levels (in addition to ethanol) synthesized by the mutant under anoxic conditions was observed; formate levels were reduced, acetate levels were elevated, and the production of CO(2) was significantly reduced, but fermentative H(2) production was unchanged relative to wild-type cells. Of particular interest is the finding that the mutant accumulates high levels of extracellular glycerol, which requires NADH as a substrate for its synthesis. Lactate production is also increased slightly in the mutant relative to the control strain. These findings demonstrate a restructuring of fermentative metabolism in the adh1 mutant in a way that sustains the recycling (oxidation) of NADH and the survival of the mutant (similar to wild-type cell survival) during dark anoxic growth.
View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.111.191569
View details for Web of Science ID 000301280500016
View details for PubMedID 22271746
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a unicellular green alga, often experiences hypoxic/anoxic soil conditions that activate fermentation metabolism. We isolated three Chlamydomonas mutants disrupted for the pyruvate formate lyase (PFL1) gene; the encoded PFL1 protein catalyzes a major fermentative pathway in wild-type Chlamydomonas cells. When the pfl1 mutants were subjected to dark fermentative conditions, they displayed an increased flux of pyruvate to lactate, elevated pyruvate decarboxylation, ethanol accumulation, diminished pyruvate oxidation by pyruvate ferredoxin oxidoreductase, and lowered H(2) production. The pfl1-1 mutant also accumulated high intracellular levels of lactate, succinate, alanine, malate, and fumarate. To further probe the system, we generated a double mutant (pfl1-1 adh1) that is unable to synthesize both formate and ethanol. This strain, like the pfl1 mutants, secreted lactate, but it also exhibited a significant increase in the levels of extracellular glycerol, acetate, and intracellular reduced sugars and a decrease in dark, fermentative H(2) production. Whereas wild-type Chlamydomonas fermentation primarily produces formate and ethanol, the double mutant reroutes glycolytic carbon to lactate and glycerol. Although the metabolic adjustments observed in the mutants facilitate NADH reoxidation and sustained glycolysis under dark, anoxic conditions, the observed changes could not have been predicted given our current knowledge of the regulation of fermentation metabolism.
View details for DOI 10.1105/tpc.111.093146
View details for Web of Science ID 000302131000023
View details for PubMedID 22353371
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Chlamydomonas throughout) encodes two [FeFe]-hydrogenases, designated HYDA1 and HYDA2. While HYDA1 is considered the dominant hydrogenase, the role of HYDA2 is unclear. To study the individual functions of each hydrogenase and provide a platform for future bioengineering, we isolated the Chlamydomonas hydA1-1, hydA2-1 single mutants and the hydA1-1 hydA2-1 double mutant. A reverse genetic screen was used to identify a mutant with an insertion in HYDA2, followed by mutagenesis of the hydA2-1 strain coupled with a H(2) chemosensor phenotypic screen to isolate the hydA1-1 hydA2-1 mutant. Genetic crosses of the hydA1-1 hydA2-1 mutant to wild-type cells allowed us to also isolate the single hydA1-1 mutant. Fermentative, photosynthetic, and in vitro hydrogenase activities were assayed in each of the mutant genotypes. Surprisingly, analyses of the hydA1-1 and hydA2-1 single mutants, as well as the HYDA1 and HYDA2 rescued hydA1-1 hydA2-1 mutant demonstrated that both hydrogenases are able to catalyze H(2) production from either fermentative or photosynthetic pathways. The physiology of both mutant and complemented strains indicate that the contribution of HYDA2 to H(2) photoproduction is approximately 25% that of HYDA1, which corresponds to similarly low levels of in vitro hydrogenase activity measured in the hydA1-1 mutant. Interestingly, enhanced in vitro and fermentative H(2) production activities were observed in the hydA1-1 hydA2-1 strain complemented with HYDA1, while maximal H(2)-photoproduction rates did not exceed those of wild-type cells.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.12.002
View details for Web of Science ID 000299610200009
View details for PubMedID 22177948
The oxygen evolution of single cells was investigated using a nano-probe with an ultra-micro electrode (UME) in a submicron sized system in combination with a micro-fluidic system. A single cell was immobilized in the micro-fluidic system and a nano-probe was inserted into the cytosolic space of the single cell. Then, the UME was used for an in vivo amperometric experiment at a fixed potential and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy to detect oxygen evolution of the single cell under various light intensities.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s10529-011-0604-x
View details for Web of Science ID 000293752000025
View details for PubMedID 21476096
Phototrophic microbial mat communities from 60°C and 65°C regions in the effluent channels of Mushroom and Octopus Springs (Yellowstone National Park, WY, USA) were investigated by shotgun metagenomic sequencing. Analyses of assembled metagenomic sequences resolved six dominant chlorophototrophic populations and permitted the discovery and characterization of undescribed but predominant community members and their physiological potential. Linkage of phylogenetic marker genes and functional genes showed novel chlorophototrophic bacteria belonging to uncharacterized lineages within the order Chlorobiales and within the Kingdom Chloroflexi. The latter is the first chlorophototrophic member of Kingdom Chloroflexi that lies outside the monophyletic group of chlorophototrophs of the Order Chloroflexales. Direct comparison of unassembled metagenomic sequences to genomes of representative isolates showed extensive genetic diversity, genomic rearrangements and novel physiological potential in native populations as compared with genomic references. Synechococcus spp. metagenomic sequences showed a high degree of synteny with the reference genomes of Synechococcus spp. strains A and B', but synteny declined with decreasing sequence relatedness to these references. There was evidence of horizontal gene transfer among native populations, but the frequency of these events was inversely proportional to phylogenetic relatedness.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ismej.2011.73
View details for Web of Science ID 000295782200004
View details for PubMedID 21697961
A method was developed to identify insertional mutants of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii disrupted for selected target genes. The approach relies on the generation of thousands of transformants followed by PCR-based screenings that allow for identification of strains harboring the introduced marker gene within specific genes of interest. Our results highlight the strengths and limitations of two independent screens that differed in the nature of the marker DNA used (PCR-amplified fragment containing the plasmid-free marker versus entire linearized plasmid with the marker) and in the strategies used to maintain and store transformants.
View details for DOI 10.1186/1746-4811-7-24
View details for Web of Science ID 000294348500001
View details for PubMedID 21794168
The plastid is a defining structure of photosynthetic eukaryotes and houses many plant-specific processes, including the light reactions, carbon fixation, pigment synthesis, and other primary metabolic processes. Identifying proteins associated with catalytic, structural, and regulatory functions that are unique to plastid-containing organisms is necessary to fully define the scope of plant biochemistry. Here, we performed phylogenomics on 20 genomes to compile a new inventory of 597 nucleus-encoded proteins conserved in plants and green algae but not in non-photosynthetic organisms. 286 of these proteins are of known function, whereas 311 are not characterized. This inventory was validated as applicable and relevant to diverse photosynthetic eukaryotes using an additional eight genomes from distantly related plants (including Micromonas, Selaginella, and soybean). Manual curation of the known proteins in the inventory established its importance to plastid biochemistry. To predict functions for the 52% of proteins of unknown function, we used sequence motifs, subcellular localization, co-expression analysis, and RNA abundance data. We demonstrate that 18% of the proteins in the inventory have functions outside the plastid and/or beyond green tissues. Although 32% of proteins in the inventory have homologs in all cyanobacteria, unexpectedly, 30% are eukaryote-specific. Finally, 8% of the proteins of unknown function share no similarity to any characterized protein and are plant lineage-specific. We present this annotated inventory of 597 proteins as a resource for functional analyses of plant-specific biochemistry.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M111.233734
View details for Web of Science ID 000291464700041
View details for PubMedID 21515685
The relative abundance of transcripts encoding proteins involved in inorganic carbon concentrating mechanisms (CCM), detoxification of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and photosynthesis in the thermophilic cyanobacterium Synechococcus OS-B' was measured in hot spring microbial mats over two diel cycles, and was coupled with in situ determinations of incoming irradiance and microenvironmental dynamics of O(2) and pH. Fluctuations in pH and O(2) in the mats were largely driven by the diel cycle of solar irradiance, with a pH variation from ?7.0 to ?9.5, and O(2) levels ranging from anoxia to supersaturation during night and day, respectively. Levels of various transcripts from mat cyanobacteria revealed several patterns that correlated with incident irradiance, O(2) and pH within the mat matrix. Transcript abundances for most genes increased during the morning dark-light transition. Some transcripts remained at a near constant level throughout the light period, whereas others showed an additional increase in abundance as the mat underwent transition from low-to-high light (potentially reflecting changes in O(2) concentration and pH), followed by either a decreased abundance in the early afternoon, or a gradual decline during the early afternoon and into the evening. One specific transcipt, psbA1, was the lowest during mid-day under high irradiance and increased when the light levels declined. We discuss these complex in situ transcriptional patterns with respect to environmental and endogenous cues that might impact and regulate transcription over the diel cycle.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ismej.2010.131
View details for Web of Science ID 000290020000015
View details for PubMedID 20740024
Paulinella chromatophora is a cercozoan amoeba that contains "chromatophores," which are photosynthetic inclusions of cyanobacterial origin. The recent discovery that chromatophores evolved independently of plastids, underwent major genome reduction, and transferred at least two genes to the host nucleus has highlighted P. chromatophora as a model to infer early steps in the evolution of photosynthetic organelles. However, owing to the paucity of nuclear genome sequence data, the extent of endosymbiotic gene transfer (EGT) and host symbiont regulation are currently unknown. A combination of 454 and Illumina next generation sequencing enabled us to generate a comprehensive reference transcriptome data set for P. chromatophora on which we mapped short Illumina cDNA reads generated from cultures from the dark and light phases of a diel cycle. Combined with extensive phylogenetic analyses of the deduced protein sequences, these data revealed that 1) about 0.3-0.8% of the nuclear genes were obtained by EGT compared with 11-14% in the Plantae, 2) transferred genes show a distinct bias in that many encode small proteins involved in photosynthesis and photoacclimation, 3) host cells established control over expression of transferred genes, and 4) not only EGT, but to a minor extent also horizontal gene transfer from organisms that presumably served as food sources, helped to shape the nuclear genome of P. chromatophora. The identification of a significant number of transferred genes involved in photosynthesis and photoacclimation of thylakoid membranes as well as the observed transcriptional regulation of these genes strongly implies import of the encoded gene products into chromatophores, a feature previously thought to be restricted to canonical organelles. Thus, a possible mechanism by which P. chromatophora exerts control over the performance of its newly acquired photosynthetic organelle may involve controlling the expression of nuclear-encoded chromatophore-targeted regulatory components of the thylakoid membranes.
View details for DOI 10.1093/molbev/msq209
View details for Web of Science ID 000285418600043
View details for PubMedID 20702568
The marine red alga Porphyra is an important marine crop, worth ?US$1.3 billion per year. Cultivation research now includes farm ecology, breeding, strain conservation and new net-seeding technologies. The success of cultivation is due, in part, to the high stress tolerance of Porphyra. Many species of Porphyra lose 85-95% of their cellular water during the daytime low tide, when they are also exposed to high light and temperature stress. Antioxidant and mycosporine-like amino acid activities have been partially characterized in Porphyra, but, as we discuss here, the Porphyra umbilicalis genome project will further elucidate proteins associated with stress tolerance. Furthermore, phylogenomic and transcriptomic investigations of Porphyra sensu lato could elucidate tradeoffs made during physiological acclimation and factors associated with life-history evolution in this ancient lineage.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.tplants.2010.10.004
View details for Web of Science ID 000286718200005
View details for PubMedID 21067966
Many microbes in the soil environment experience micro-oxic or anoxic conditions for much of the late afternoon and night, which inhibit or prevent respiratory metabolism. To sustain the production of energy and maintain vital cellular processes during the night, organisms have developed numerous pathways for fermentative metabolism. This review discusses fermentation pathways identified for the soil-dwelling model alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, its ability to produce molecular hydrogen under anoxic conditions through the activity of hydrogenases, and the molecular flexibility associated with fermentative metabolism that has only recently been revealed through the analysis of specific mutant strains.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03534.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000288863000004
View details for PubMedID 21563367
Synechococcus sp. represents an ecologically diverse group of cyanobacteria found in numerous environments, including hot-spring microbial mats, where they are spatially distributed along thermal, light and oxygen gradients. These thermophiles engage in photosynthesis and aerobic respiration during the day, but switch to fermentative metabolism and nitrogen fixation at night. The genome of Synechococcus OS-B', isolated from Octopus Spring (Yellowstone National Park) contains a phn gene cluster encoding a phosphonate (Phn) transporter and a C-P lyase. A closely related isolate, Synechococcus OS-A, lacks this cluster, but contains genes encoding putative phosphonatases (Phnases) that appear to be active only in the presence of the Phn substrate. Both isolates grow well on several different Phns as a sole phosphorus (P) source. Interestingly, Synechococcus OS-B' can use the organic carbon backbones of Phns for heterotrophic growth in the dark, whereas in the light this strain releases organic carbon from Phn as ethane or methane (depending on the specific Phn available); Synechococcus OS-A has neither of these capabilities. These differences in metabolic strategies for assimilating the P and C of Phn by two closely related Synechococcus spp. are suggestive of niche-specific constraints in the evolution of nutrient assimilation pathways and syntrophic relationships among the microbial populations of the hot-spring mats. Thus, it is critical to evaluate levels of various P sources, including Phn, in thermally active habitats and the potential importance of these compounds in the biogeochemical cycling of P and C (some Phn compounds also contain N) in diverse terrestrial environments.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ismej.2010.96
View details for Web of Science ID 000285845200014
View details for PubMedID 20631809
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a unicellular green alga, has been exploited as a reference organism for identifying proteins and activities associated with the photosynthetic apparatus and the functioning of chloroplasts. Recently, the full genome sequence of Chlamydomonas was generated and a set of gene models, representing all genes on the genome, was developed. Using these gene models, and gene models developed for the genomes of other organisms, a phylogenomic, comparative analysis was performed to identify proteins encoded on the Chlamydomonas genome which were likely involved in chloroplast functions (or specifically associated with the green algal lineage); this set of proteins has been designated the GreenCut. Further analyses of those GreenCut proteins with uncharacterized functions and the generation of mutant strains aberrant for these proteins are beginning to unmask new layers of functionality/regulation that are integrated into the workings of the photosynthetic apparatus.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11120-010-9555-7
View details for Web of Science ID 000283516500002
View details for PubMedID 20490922
The sulfate ion (SO(4)(2-)) is transported into plant root cells by SO(4)(2-) transporters and then mostly reduced to sulfide (S(2-)). The S(2-) is then bonded to O-acetylserine through the activity of cysteine synthase (O-acetylserine (thiol)lyase or OASTL) to form cysteine, the first organic molecule of the SO(4)(2-) assimilation pathway. Here, we show that a root plasma membrane SO(4)(2-) transporter of Arabidopsis, SULTR1;2, physically interacts with OASTL. The interaction was initially demonstrated using a yeast two-hybrid system and corroborated by both in vivo and in vitro binding assays. The domain of SULTR1;2 shown to be important for association with OASTL is called the STAS domain. This domain is at the C terminus of the transporter and extends from the plasma membrane into the cytoplasm. The functional relevance of the OASTL-STAS interaction was investigated using yeast mutant cells devoid of endogenous SO(4)(2-) uptake activity but co-expressing SULTR1;2 and OASTL. The analysis of SO(4)(2-) transport in these cells suggests that the binding of OASTL to the STAS domain in this heterologous system negatively impacts transporter activity. In contrast, the activity of purified OASTL measured in vitro was enhanced by co-incubation with the STAS domain of SULTR1;2 but not with the analogous domain of the SO(4)(2-) transporter isoform SULTR1;1, even though the SULTR1;1 STAS peptide also interacts with OASTL based on the yeast two-hybrid system and in vitro binding assays. These observations suggest a regulatory model in which interactions between SULTR1;2 and OASTL coordinate internalization of SO(4)(2-) with the energetic/metabolic state of plant root cells.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M110.126888
View details for Web of Science ID 000280542100082
View details for PubMedID 20529854
Chlamydomonas (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii) exhibits several responses following exposure to sulfur (S)-deprivation conditions, including an increased efficiency of import and assimilation of the sulfate anion (SO(4)(2-)). Aspects of SO(4)(2-) transport during S-replete and S-depleted conditions were previously studied, although the transporters had not been functionally identified. We employed a reverse genetics approach to identify putative SO(4)(2-) transporters, examine their regulation, establish their biogenesis and subcellular locations, and explore their functionality. Upon S starvation of wild-type Chlamydomonas cells, the accumulation of transcripts encoding the putative SO(4)(2-) transporters SLT1 (for SAC1-like transporter 1), SLT2, and SULTR2 markedly increased, suggesting that these proteins function in high-affinity SO(4)(2-) transport. The Chlamydomonas sac1 and snrk2.1 mutants (defective for acclimation to S deprivation) exhibited much less of an increase in the levels of SLT1, SLT2, and SULTR2 transcripts and their encoded proteins in response to S deprivation compared with wild-type cells. All three transporters were localized to the plasma membrane, and their rates of turnover were significantly impacted by S availability; the turnover of SLT1 and SLT2 was proteasome dependent, while that of SULTR2 was proteasome independent. Finally, mutants identified for each of the S-deprivation-responsive transporters were used to establish their critical role in the transport of SO(4)(2-) into S-deprived cells.
View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.110.157875
View details for Web of Science ID 000280566000018
View details for PubMedID 20498339
The Chlamydomonas reinhardtii transcriptome was characterized from nutrient-replete and sulfur-depleted wild-type and snrk2.1 mutant cells. This mutant is null for the regulatory Ser-Thr kinase SNRK2.1, which is required for acclimation of the alga to sulfur deprivation. The transcriptome analyses used microarray hybridization and RNA-seq technology. Quantitative RT-PCR evaluation of the results obtained by these techniques showed that RNA-seq reports a larger dynamic range of expression levels than do microarray hybridizations. Transcripts responsive to sulfur deprivation included those encoding proteins involved in sulfur acquisition and assimilation, synthesis of sulfur-containing metabolites, Cys degradation, and sulfur recycling. Furthermore, we noted potential modifications of cellular structures during sulfur deprivation, including the cell wall and complexes associated with the photosynthetic apparatus. Moreover, the data suggest that sulfur-deprived cells accumulate proteins with fewer sulfur-containing amino acids. Most of the sulfur deprivation responses are controlled by the SNRK2.1 protein kinase. The snrk2.1 mutant exhibits a set of unique responses during both sulfur-replete and sulfur-depleted conditions that are not observed in wild-type cells; the inability of this mutant to acclimate to S deprivation probably leads to elevated levels of singlet oxygen and severe oxidative stress, which ultimately causes cell death. The transcriptome results for wild-type and mutant cells strongly suggest the occurrence of massive changes in cellular physiology and metabolism as cells become depleted for sulfur and reveal aspects of acclimation that are likely critical for cell survival.
View details for DOI 10.1105/tpc.109.071167
View details for Web of Science ID 000280505300029
View details for PubMedID 20587772
There are numerous sources of bioenergy that are generated by photosynthetic processes, for example, lipids, alcohols, hydrogen, and polysaccharides. However, generally only a small fraction of solar energy absorbed by photosynthetic organisms is converted to a form of energy that can be readily exploited. To more efficiently use the solar energy harvested by photosynthetic organisms, we evaluated the feasibility of generating bioelectricity by directly extracting electrons from the photosynthetic electron transport chain before they are used to fix CO(2) into sugars and polysaccharides. From a living algal cell, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, photosynthetic electrons (1.2 pA at 6000 mA/m(2)) were directly extracted without a mediator electron carrier by inserting a nanoelectrode into the algal chloroplast and applying an overvoltage. This result may represent an initial step in generating "high efficiency" bioelectricity by directly harvesting high energy photosynthetic electrons.
View details for DOI 10.1021/nl903141j
View details for Web of Science ID 000276557100007
View details for PubMedID 20201533
Light is necessary for photosynthesis, but its absorption by pigment molecules such as chlorophyll can cause severe oxidative damage and result in cell death. The excess absorption of light energy by photosynthetic pigments has led to the evolution of protective mechanisms that operate on the timescale of seconds to minutes and involve feedback-regulated de-excitation of chlorophyll molecules in photosystem II (qE). Despite the significant contribution of eukaryotic algae to global primary production, little is known about their qE mechanism, in contrast to that in flowering plants. Here we show that a qE-deficient mutant of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, npq4, lacks two of the three genes encoding LHCSR (formerly called LI818). This protein is an ancient member of the light-harvesting complex superfamily, and orthologues are found throughout photosynthetic eukaryote taxa, except in red algae and vascular plants. The qE capacity of Chlamydomonas is dependent on environmental conditions and is inducible by growth under high light conditions. We show that the fitness of the npq4 mutant in a shifting light environment is reduced compared to wild-type cells, demonstrating that LHCSR is required for survival in a dynamic light environment. Thus, these data indicate that plants and algae use different proteins to dissipate harmful excess light energy and protect the photosynthetic apparatus from damage.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nature08587
View details for Web of Science ID 000272144200047
View details for PubMedID 19940928
The green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has a network of fermentation pathways that become active when cells acclimate to anoxia. Hydrogenase activity is an important component of this metabolism, and we have compared metabolic and regulatory responses that accompany anaerobiosis in wild-type C. reinhardtii cells and a null mutant strain for the HYDEF gene (hydEF-1 mutant), which encodes an [FeFe] hydrogenase maturation protein. This mutant has no hydrogenase activity and exhibits elevated accumulation of succinate and diminished production of CO2 relative to the parental strain during dark, anaerobic metabolism. In the absence of hydrogenase activity, increased succinate accumulation suggests that the cells activate alternative pathways for pyruvate metabolism, which contribute to NAD(P)H reoxidation, and continued glycolysis and fermentation in the absence of O2. Fermentative succinate production potentially proceeds via the formation of malate, and increases in the abundance of mRNAs encoding two malate-forming enzymes, pyruvate carboxylase and malic enzyme, are observed in the mutant relative to the parental strain following transfer of cells from oxic to anoxic conditions. Although C. reinhardtii has a single gene encoding pyruvate carboxylase, it has six genes encoding putative malic enzymes. Only one of the malic enzyme genes, MME4, shows a dramatic increase in expression (mRNA abundance) in the hydEF-1 mutant during anaerobiosis. Furthermore, there are marked increases in transcripts encoding fumarase and fumarate reductase, enzymes putatively required to convert malate to succinate. These results illustrate the marked metabolic flexibility of C. reinhardtii and contribute to the development of an informed model of anaerobic metabolism in this and potentially other algae.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M803917200
View details for Web of Science ID 000263919000067
View details for PubMedID 19117946
The Chlamydomonas reinhardtii PSR1 gene is required for proper acclimation of the cells to phosphorus (P) deficiency. P-starved psr1 mutants show signs of secondary sulfur (S) starvation, exemplified by the synthesis of extracellular arylsulfatase and the accumulation of transcripts encoding proteins involved in S scavenging and assimilation. Epistasis analysis reveals that induction of the S-starvation responses in P-limited psr1 cells requires the regulatory protein kinase SNRK2.1, but bypasses the membrane-targeted activator, SAC1. The inhibitory kinase SNRK2.2 is necessary for repression of S-starvation responses during both nutrient-replete growth and P limitation; arylsulfatase activity and S deficiency-responsive genes are partially induced in the P-deficient snrk2.2 mutants and become fully activated in the P-deficient psr1snrk2.2 double mutant. During P starvation, the sac1snrk2.2 double mutants or the psr1sac1snrk2.2 triple mutants exhibit reduced arylsulfatase activity compared to snrk2.2 or psr1snrk2.2, respectively, but the sac1 mutation has little effect on the abundance of S deficiency-responsive transcripts in these strains, suggesting a post-transcriptional role for SAC1 in elicitation of S-starvation responses. Interestingly, P-starved psr1snrk2.2 cells bleach and die more rapidly than wild-type or psr1 strains, suggesting that activation of S-starvation responses during P deprivation is deleterious to the cell. From these results we infer that (i) P-deficient growth causes some internal S limitation, but the S-deficiency responses are normally inhibited during acclimation to P deprivation; (ii) the S-deficiency responses are not completely suppressed in P-deficient psr1 cells and consequently these cells synthesize some arylsulfatase and exhibit elevated levels of transcripts for S-deprivation genes; and (iii) this increased expression is controlled by regulators that modulate transcription of S-responsive genes during S-deprivation conditions. Overall, the work strongly suggests integration of the different circuits that control nutrient-deprivation responses in Chlamydomonas.
View details for DOI 10.1534/genetics.108.099382
View details for Web of Science ID 000270213500010
View details for PubMedID 19087952
Chromist algae (stramenopiles, cryptophytes, and haptophytes) are major contributors to marine primary productivity. These eukaryotes acquired their plastid via secondary endosymbiosis, whereby an early-diverging red alga was engulfed by a protist and the plastid was retained and its associated nuclear-encoded genes were transferred to the host genome. Current data suggest, however, that chromists are paraphyletic; therefore, it remains unclear whether their plastids trace back to a single secondary endosymbiosis or, alternatively, this organelle has resulted from multiple independent events in the different chromist lineages. Both scenarios, however, predict that plastid-targeted, nucleus-encoded chromist proteins should be most closely related to their red algal homologs. Here we analyzed the biosynthetic pathway of carotenoids that are essential components of all photosynthetic eukaryotes and find a mosaic evolutionary origin of these enzymes in chromists. Surprisingly, about one-third (5/16) of the proteins are most closely related to green algal homologs with three branching within or sister to the early-diverging Prasinophyceae. This phylogenetic association is corroborated by shared diagnostic indels and the syntenic arrangement of a specific gene pair involved in the photoprotective xanthophyll cycle. The combined data suggest that the prasinophyte genes may have been acquired before the ancient split of stramenopiles, haptophytes, cryptophytes, and putatively also dinoflagellates. The latter point is supported by the observed monophyly of alveolates and stramenopiles in most molecular trees. One possible explanation for our results is that the green genes are remnants of a cryptic endosymbiosis that occurred early in chromalveolate evolution; that is, prior to the postulated split of stramenopiles, alveolates, haptophytes, and cryptophytes. The subsequent red algal capture would have led to the loss or replacement of most green genes via intracellular gene transfer from the new endosymbiont. We argue that the prasinophyte genes were retained because they enhance photosynthetic performance in chromalveolates, thus extending the niches available to these organisms. The alternate explanation of green gene origin via serial endosymbiotic or horizontal gene transfers is also plausible, but the latter would require the independent origins of the same five genes in some or all the different chromalveolate lineages.
View details for DOI 10.1093/molbev/msn206
View details for Web of Science ID 000260977300015
View details for PubMedID 18799712
The genomes of two closely related thermophilic cyanobacterial isolates, designated Synechococcus isolate OS-A and Synechococcus isolate OS-B', from the microbial mats of Octopus Spring (Yellowstone National Park) have been sequenced. An extensive suite of genes that are controlled by phosphate levels constitute the putative Pho regulon in these cyanobacteria. We examined physiological responses of an axenic OS-B' isolate as well as transcript abundances of Pho regulon genes as the cells acclimated to phosphorus-limiting conditions. Upon imposition of phosphorus deprivation, OS-B' stopped dividing after three to four doublings, and absorbance spectra measurements indicated that the cells had lost most of their phycobiliproteins and chlorophyll a. Alkaline phosphatase activity peaked and remained high after 48 h of phosphorus starvation, and there was an accumulation of transcripts from putative Pho regulon genes. Interestingly, the genome of Synechococcus isolate OS-B' harbors a cluster of phn genes that are not present in OS-A isolates. The proteins encoded by the phn genes function in the transport and metabolism of phosphonates, which could serve as an alternative phosphorus source when exogenous phosphate is low. The phn genes were upregulated within a day of eliminating the source of phosphate from the medium. However, the ability of OS-B' to utilize methylphosphonate as a sole phosphorus source occurred only after an extensive period of exposure to the substrate. Once acclimated, the cells grew rapidly in fresh medium with methylphosphonate as the only source of phosphorus. The possible implications of these results are discussed with respect to the ecophysiology of the microbial mats.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JB.01011-08
View details for Web of Science ID 000261217900036
View details for PubMedID 18931115
To cope with a rapidly fluctuating light environment, vascular plants and algae have evolved a photoprotective mechanism that serves to downregulate the transfer of excitation energy in the light-harvesting complexes to the photosynthetic reaction centers. This process dissipates excess excitation energy in the chlorophyll pigment bed by a nonradiative pathway. Since this pathway competes with and therefore quenches chlorophyll fluoresence in a nonphotochemical manner, it has been termed Non-photochemical Quenching (NPQ). For many years, cyanobacteria were not considered capable of performing NPQ as a photoprotective mechanism. Instead, the redistribution of the phycobilisome (PBS) light-harvesting antenna between reaction centers by a process called state transitions was considered the major means of regulating the utilization of harvested light energy. Recently, it was demonstrated that cyanobacteria are able to use NPQ as one component of their photoprotective strategies. Cyanobacteria exhibit significant NPQ during nutrient-replete growth, but it becomes a more prominent means of managing absorbed excitation energy when the cells experience iron starvation. Rapid progress in understanding the molecular mechanism of cyanobacterial NPQ has revealed a process that is very distinct from the functionally analogous process in plants and algae. Cyanobacterial NPQ involves the absorption of blue light by a carotenoid binding protein, termed the Orange Carotenoid Protein, and most likely involves quenching in the PBS core. In this study, we summarize work leading to the discovery of NPQ in cyanobacteria and the elucidation of molecular mechanisms associated with this important photoprotective process.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1751-1097.2008.00453.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000261081200016
View details for PubMedID 19067963
Ultra-sharp nano-probes and customized atomic force microscopy (AFM) have previously been developed in our laboratory for in situ sub-cellular probing of electrochemical phenomena in living plant cells during their photosynthesis. However, this AFM-based electrochemical probing still has numerous engineering challenges such as immobilization of the live cells, compatibility of the immobilization procedure with AFM manipulation of the probe, maintenance of biological activity of the cells for an extended time while performing the measurements, and minimization of electrochemical noise. Thus, we have developed an open micro-fluidic channel system (OMFC) in which individual cells can be immobilized in micro-traps by capillary flow. This system affords easy AFM access and allows for maintenance of the cells in a well-defined chemical environment, which sustains their biological activity. The use of micro-channels for making the electrochemical measurements significantly reduces parasitic electrical capacitances and allows for current detection in the sub-pico-ampere range at high signal bandwidths. The OMFC was further studied using simulation packages for optimal design conditions. This system was successfully used to measure light-dependent oxidation currents of a few pico-amperes from the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.
View details for DOI 10.1039/b803450h
View details for Web of Science ID 000259676000007
View details for PubMedID 18818800
Adaptation of photosynthesis in marine environment has been examined in two strains of the green, picoeukaryote Ostreococcus: OTH95, a surface/high-light strain, and RCC809, a deep-sea/low-light strain. Differences between the two strains include changes in the light-harvesting capacity, which is lower in OTH95, and in the photoprotection capacity, which is enhanced in OTH95. Furthermore, RCC809 has a reduced maximum rate of O(2) evolution, which is limited by its decreased photosystem I (PSI) level, a possible adaptation to Fe limitation in the open oceans. This decrease is, however, accompanied by a substantial rerouting of the electron flow to establish an H(2)O-to-H(2)O cycle, involving PSII and a potential plastid plastoquinol terminal oxidase. This pathway bypasses electron transfer through the cytochrome b(6)f complex and allows the pumping of "extra" protons into the thylakoid lumen. By promoting the generation of a large DeltapH, it facilitates ATP synthesis and nonphotochemical quenching when RCC809 cells are exposed to excess excitation energy. We propose that the diversion of electrons to oxygen downstream of PSII, but before PSI, reflects a common and compulsory strategy in marine phytoplankton to bypass the constraints imposed by light and/or nutrient limitation and allow successful colonization of the open-ocean marine environment.
View details for DOI 10.1072/pnas.0802762105
View details for Web of Science ID 000256648600046
View details for PubMedID 18511560
In the absence of sulfur (S), Chlamydomonas reinhardtii increases the abundance of several transcripts encoding proteins associated with S acquisition and assimilation, conserves S amino acids, and acclimates to suboptimal growth conditions. A positive regulator, SAC1 (for sulfur acclimation protein 1), and a negative regulator, SAC3, were shown to participate in the control of these processes. In this study, we investigated two allelic mutants (ars11 and ars44) affected in a gene encoding a SNRK2 (for SNF1-related protein kinase 2) kinase designated SNRK2.1. Like the sac1 mutant, both snrk2.1 mutants were deficient in the expression of S-responsive genes. Furthermore, the mutant cells bleached more rapidly than wild-type cells during S deprivation, although the phenotypes of ars11 and ars44 were not identical: ars11 exhibited a more severe phenotype than either ars44 or sac1. The phenotypic differences between the ars11 and ars44 mutants reflected distinct alterations of SNRK2.1 mRNA splicing caused by insertion of the marker gene. The ars11 phenotype could be rescued by complementation with SNRK2.1 cDNA. In contrast to the nonepistatic relationship between SAC3 and SAC1, characterization of the sac3 ars11 double mutant showed that SNRK2.1 is epistatic to SAC3. These data reveal the crucial regulatory role of SNRK2.1 in the signaling cascade critical for eliciting S deprivation responses in Chlamydomonas. The phylogenetic relationships and structures of the eight members of the SNRK2 family in Chlamydomonas are discussed.
View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.108.116137
View details for Web of Science ID 000256419400021
View details for PubMedID 18326790
View details for Web of Science ID 000256498900003
Nitrogen fixation, a prokaryotic, O2-inhibited process that reduces N2 gas to biomass, is of paramount importance in biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen. We analyzed the levels of nif transcripts of Synechococcus ecotypes, NifH subunit and nitrogenase activity over the diel cycle in the microbial mat of an alkaline hot spring in Yellowstone National Park. The results showed a rise in nif transcripts in the evening, with a subsequent decline over the course of the night. In contrast, immunological data demonstrated that the level of the NifH polypeptide remained stable during the night, and only declined when the mat became oxic in the morning. Nitrogenase activity was low throughout the night; however, it exhibited two peaks, a small one in the evening and a large one in the early morning, when light began to stimulate cyanobacterial photosynthetic activity, but O2 consumption by respiration still exceeded the rate of O2 evolution. Once the irradiance increased to the point at which the mat became oxic, the nitrogenase activity was strongly inhibited. Transcripts for proteins associated with energy-producing metabolisms in the cell also followed diel patterns, with fermentation-related transcripts accumulating at night, photosynthesis- and respiration-related transcripts accumulating during the day and late afternoon, respectively. These results are discussed with respect to the energetics and regulation of N2 fixation in hot spring mats and factors that can markedly influence the extent of N2 fixation over the diel cycle.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ismej.2007.117
View details for Web of Science ID 000255288700003
View details for PubMedID 18323780
Cyanobacteria dominate the world's oceans where iron is often barely detectable. One manifestation of low iron adaptation in the oligotrophic marine environment is a decrease in levels of iron-rich photosynthetic components, including the reaction center of photosystem I and the cytochrome b6f complex [R.F. Strzepek and P.J. Harrison, Photosynthetic architecture differs in coastal and oceanic diatoms, Nature 431 (2004) 689-692.]. These thylakoid membrane components have well characterised roles in linear and cyclic photosynthetic electron transport and their low abundance creates potential impediments to photosynthetic function. Here we show that the marine cyanobacterium Synechococcus WH8102 exhibits significant alternative electron flow to O2, a potential adaptation to the low iron environment in oligotrophic oceans. This alternative electron flow appears to extract electrons from the intersystem electron transport chain, prior to photosystem I. Inhibitor studies demonstrate that a propyl gallate-sensitive oxidase mediates this flow of electrons to oxygen, which in turn alleviates excessive photosystem II excitation pressure that can often occur even at relatively low irradiance. These findings are also discussed in the context of satisfying the energetic requirements of the cell when photosystem I abundance is low.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbabio.2008.01.002
View details for Web of Science ID 000254674600004
View details for PubMedID 18241667
Vascular plants contain abundant, light-harvesting complexes in the thylakoid membrane that are non-covalently associated with chlorophylls and carotenoids. These light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b binding (LHC) proteins are members of an extended CAB/ELIP/HLIP superfamily of distantly related polypeptides, which have between one and four transmembrane helices (TMH). This superfamily includes the single TMH, high-light-inducible proteins (Hlips), found in cyanobacteria that are induced by various stress conditions, including high light, and are considered ancestral to the LHC proteins. The roles of, and evolutionary relationships between, these superfamily members are of particular interest, since they function in both light harvesting and photoprotection and may have evolved through tandem gene duplication and fusion events. We have investigated the Hlips (hli gene family) in the thermophilic unicellular cyanobacterium Synechococcus OS-B'. The five hli genes present on the genome of Synechococcus OS-B' are relatively similar, but transcript analyses indicate that there are different patterns of transcript accumulation when the cells are exposed to various growth conditions, suggesting that different Hlips may have specific functions. Hlip5 has an additional TMH at the N-terminus as a result of a novel fusion event. This additional TMH is very similar to a conserved hypothetical, single membrane-spanning polypeptide present in most cyanobacteria. The evolutionary significance of these results is discussed.
View details for DOI 10.1093/mp/ssm019
View details for Web of Science ID 000259068900015
View details for PubMedID 20031922
In microbial mat communities of Yellowstone hot springs, ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequence diversity patterns indicate the presence of closely related bacterial populations along environmental gradients of temperature and light. To identify the functional bases for adaptation, we sequenced the genomes of two cyanobacterial (Synechococcus OS-A and OS-B') isolates representing ecologically distinct populations that dominate at different temperatures and are major primary producers in the mat. There was a marked lack of conserved large-scale gene order between the two Synechococcus genomes, indicative of extensive genomic rearrangements. Comparative genomic analyses showed that the isolates shared a large fraction of their gene content at high identity, yet, differences in phosphate and nitrogen utilization pathways indicated that they have adapted differentially to nutrient fluxes, possibly by the acquisition of genes by lateral gene transfer or their loss in certain populations. Comparisons of the Synechococcus genomes to metagenomic sequences derived from mats where these Synechococcus stains were originally isolated, revealed new facets of microbial diversity. First, Synechococcus populations at the lower temperature regions of the mat showed greater sequence diversity than those at high temperatures, consistent with a greater number of ecologically distinct populations at the lower temperature. Second, we found evidence of a specialized population that is apparently very closely related to Synechococcus OS-B', but contains genes that function in the uptake of reduced ferrous iron. In situ expression studies demonstrated that these genes are differentially expressed over the diel cycle, with highest expression when the mats are anoxic and iron may be in the reduced state. Genomic information from these mat-specific isolates and metagenomic information can be coupled to detect naturally occurring populations that are associated with different functionalities, not always represented by isolates, but which may nevertheless be important for niche partitioning and the establishment of microbial community structure.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ismej.2007.46
View details for Web of Science ID 000251946500004
View details for PubMedID 18059494
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a unicellular green alga whose lineage diverged from land plants over 1 billion years ago. It is a model system for studying chloroplast-based photosynthesis, as well as the structure, assembly, and function of eukaryotic flagella (cilia), which were inherited from the common ancestor of plants and animals, but lost in land plants. We sequenced the approximately 120-megabase nuclear genome of Chlamydomonas and performed comparative phylogenomic analyses, identifying genes encoding uncharacterized proteins that are likely associated with the function and biogenesis of chloroplasts or eukaryotic flagella. Analyses of the Chlamydomonas genome advance our understanding of the ancestral eukaryotic cell, reveal previously unknown genes associated with photosynthetic and flagellar functions, and establish links between ciliopathy and the composition and function of flagella.
View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1143609
View details for Web of Science ID 000250086100040
View details for PubMedID 17932292
Both prokaryotic and eukaryotic photosynthetic microbes experience conditions of anoxia, especially during the night when photosynthetic activity ceases. In Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, dark anoxia is characterized by the activation of an extensive set of fermentation pathways that act in concert to provide cellular energy, while limiting the accumulation of potentially toxic fermentative products. Metabolite analyses, quantitative PCR, and high density Chlamydomonas DNA microarrays were used to monitor changes in metabolite accumulation and gene expression during acclimation of the cells to anoxia. Elevated levels of transcripts encoding proteins associated with the production of H2, organic acids, and ethanol were observed in congruence with the accumulation of fermentation products. The levels of over 500 transcripts increased significantly during acclimation of the cells to anoxic conditions. Among these were transcripts encoding transcription/translation regulators, prolyl hydroxylases, hybrid cluster proteins, proteases, transhydrogenase, catalase, and several putative proteins of unknown function. Overall, this study uses metabolite, genomic, and transcriptome data to provide genome-wide insights into the regulation of the complex metabolic networks utilized by Chlamydomonas under the anaerobic conditions associated with H2 production.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M701415200
View details for Web of Science ID 000249014100033
View details for PubMedID 17565990
Thermophilic cyanobacteria of the genus Synechococcus are major contributors to photosynthetic carbon fixation in the photic zone of microbial mats in Octopus Spring, Yellowstone National Park. Synechococcus OS-B' was characterized with regard to the ability to acclimate to a range of different light irradiances; it grows well at 25 to 200 micromol photons m(-2) s(-1) but dies when the irradiance is increased to 400 micromol photons m(-2) s(-1). At 200 micromol photons m(-2) s(-1) (high light [HL]), we noted several responses that had previously been associated with HL acclimation of cyanobacteria, including cell bleaching, reduced levels of phycobilisomes and chlorophyll, and elevated levels of a specific carotenoid. Synechococcus OS-B' synthesizes the carotenoids zeaxanthin and beta,beta-carotene and a novel myxol-anhydrohexoside. Interestingly, 77-K fluorescence emission spectra suggest that Synechococcus OS-B' accumulates very small amounts of photosystem II relative to that of photosystem I. This ratio further decreased at higher growth irradiances, which may reflect potential photodamage following exposure to HL. We also noted that HL caused reduced levels of transcripts encoding phycobilisome components, particularly that for CpcH, a 20.5-kDa rod linker polypeptide. There was enhanced transcript abundance of genes encoding terminal oxidases, superoxide dismutase, tocopherol cyclase, and phytoene desaturase. Genes encoding the photosystem II D1:1 and D1:2 isoforms (psbAI and psbAII/psbAIII, respectively) were also regulated according to the light regimen. The results are discussed in the context of how Synechococcus OS-B' may cope with high light irradiances in the high-temperature environment of the microbial mat.
View details for DOI 10.1128/AEM.00201-07
View details for Web of Science ID 000248070000023
View details for PubMedID 17483258
Chlamydomonas has traditionally been exploited as an organism that is associated with sophisticated physiological, genetic and molecular analyses, all of which have been used to elucidate several biological processes, especially photosynthesis and flagella function and assembly. Recently, the genomics of Chlamydomonas has been combined with other technologies to unveil new aspects of metabolism, including inorganic carbon utilization, anaerobic fermentation, the suite and functions of selenoproteins, and the regulation of vitamin biosynthesis. These initial findings represent the first glimpse through a genomic window onto the highly complex metabolisms that characterize a unicellular, photosynthetic eukaryote that has maintained both plant-like and animal-like characteristics over evolutionary time.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pbi.2007.01.012
View details for Web of Science ID 000245573100014
View details for PubMedID 17291820
Clustering and assembly of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) constitute the basis for most genomewide descriptions of a transcriptome. This approach is limited by the decline in sequence quality toward the end of each EST, impacting both sequence clustering and assembly. Here, we exploit the available draft genome sequence of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to guide clustering and to correct errors in the ESTs. We have grouped all available EST and cDNA sequences into 12,063 ACEGs (assembly of contiguous ESTs based on genome) and generated 15,857 contigs of average length 934 nt. We predict that roughly 3000 of our contigs represent full-length transcripts. Compared to previous assemblies, ACEGs show extended contig length, increased accuracy and a reduction in redundancy. Because our assembly protocol also uses ESTs with no corresponding genomic sequences, it provides sequence information for genes interrupted by sequence gaps. Detailed analysis of randomly sampled ACEGs reveals several hundred putative cases of alternative splicing, many overlapping transcription units and new genes not identified by gene prediction algorithms. Our protocol, although developed for and tailored to the C. reinhardtii dataset, can be exploited by any eukaryotic genome project for which both a draft genome sequence and ESTs are available.
View details for DOI 10.1093/nar/gkm081
View details for Web of Science ID 000246123600038
View details for PubMedID 17355987
We have designed a microfluidic device in which we can manipulate, lyse, label, separate, and quantify the protein contents of a single cell using single-molecule fluorescence counting. Generic labeling of proteins is achieved through fluorescent-antibody binding. The use of cylindrical optics enables high-efficiency (approximately 60%) counting of molecules in micrometer-sized channels. We used this microfluidic device to quantify beta2 adrenergic receptors expressed in insect cells (SF9). We also analyzed phycobiliprotein contents in individual cyanobacterial cells (Synechococcus sp. PCC 7942) and observed marked differences in the levels of specific complexes in cell populations that were grown under nitrogen-depleted conditions.
View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1133992
View details for Web of Science ID 000243259100039
View details for PubMedID 17204646
Algae are dominant primary producers on the Earth and have a major impact on global productivity and biogeochemical cycling. There are still few algal genomes that have been completely characterized, and resources directed toward algal genomic sequencing are limited. However, it is also becoming evident that algae and prokaryotic picoplankton have a critical role in the fixation and sequestration of carbon, and so the interest in algal genomics is expanding. There are some algae for which full or near-full genome sequences have been secured; these genomes include those of the red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae, the green algae or chlorophytes Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Volvox carteri, the marine picoeukaryote Ostreococcus tauri (two different strains of O. tauri have been sequenced), the diatoms Thalassiosira pseudonana and Phaeodactylum tricornutum, and the haptophyte Emiliania huxleyi. There is also a full sequence for the vestigal 'red' algal genome of the nucleomorph of the Cyptomonad Guillardia theta. In addition, numerous genomes of photosynthetic microbes, including marine Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus species have been sequenced. There have also been projects developed to define algal transcriptomes as determined by cDNA analysis, full genome sequences of numerous plastids, and the genomes of a variety of viruses that infect marine and freshwater algae. The recent efforts focused on acquiring and analyzing algal genome sequences have generated an influx of exciting data to a field that is in its infancy. In this review I discuss potential criteria for determining which organisms should be targeted for genome projects, successful forays into algal genomic sequencing, and some of the inferences generated from the analysis of the sequence information.
View details for Web of Science ID 000251745700006
View details for PubMedID 18161491
Genetically-encoded fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) sensors for phosphate (P(i)) (FLIPPi) were engineered by fusing a predicted Synechococcus phosphate-binding protein (PiBP) to eCFP and Venus. Purified fluorescent indicator protein for inorganic phosphate (FLIPPi), in which the fluorophores are attached to the same PiBP lobe, shows P(i)-dependent increases in FRET efficiency. FLIPPi affinity mutants cover P(i) changes over eight orders of magnitude. COS-7 cells co-expressing a low-affinity FLIPPi and a Na(+)/P(i) co-transporter exhibited FRET changes when perfused with 100 microM P(i), demonstrating concentrative P(i) uptake by PiT2. FLIPPi sensors are suitable for real-time monitoring of P(i) metabolism in living cells, providing a new tool for fluxomics, analysis of pathophysiology or changes of P(i) during cell migration.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.febslet.2006.09.048
View details for Web of Science ID 000241707100014
View details for PubMedID 17034793
Phototropin (PHOT) is a photoreceptor involved in a variety of blue-light-elicited physiological processes including phototropism, chloroplast movement and stomatal opening in plants. The work presented here tests whether PHOT is involved in expression of light-regulated genes in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. When C. reinhardtii was transferred from the dark to very low-fluence rate white light, there was a substantial increase in the level of transcripts encoding glutamate-1-semialdehyde aminotransferase (GSAT), phytoene desaturase (PDS) and light-harvesting polypeptides (e.g. LHCBM6). Increased levels of these transcripts were also elicited by low-intensity blue light, and this blue-light stimulation was suppressed in three different RNAi strains that synthesize low levels of PHOT. The levels of GSAT and LHCBM6 transcripts also increased following exposure of algal cells to low-intensity red light (RL). The red-light-dependent increase in transcript abundance was not affected by the electron transport inhibitor 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea, implying that the influence of RL on transcript accumulation was not controlled by cytoplasmic redox conditions, and that a red-light photoreceptor(s) may be involved in regulating the levels of transcripts from specific photosynthesis-related genes in C. reinhardtii. Interestingly, elevated GSAT and LHCBM6 transcript levels in RL were significantly reduced in the PHOT RNAi strains, which raises the possibility of co-action between blue and RL signaling pathways. Microarray experiments indicated that the levels of several transcripts for photosystem (PS) I and II polypeptides were also modulated by PHOT. These data suggest that, in C. reinhardtii, (i) PHOT is involved in blue-light-mediated changes in transcript accumulation, (ii) synchronization of the synthesis of chlorophylls (Chl), carotenoids, Chl-binding proteins and other components of the photosynthetic apparatus is achieved, at least in part, through PHOT-mediated signaling, and (iii) a red-light photoreceptor can also influence levels of certain transcripts associated with photosynthetic function, although its action requires normal levels of PHOT.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2006.02852.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000240440400001
View details for PubMedID 16972865
Sulfate transporters in plants represent a family of proteins containing transmembrane domains that constitute the catalytic part of the protein and a short linking region that joins this catalytic moiety with a C-terminal STAS domain. The STAS domain resembles an anti-sigma factor antagonist of Bacillus subtilis, which is one distinguishing feature of the SLC26 transporter family; this family includes transporters for sulfate and other anions such as iodide and carbonate. Recent work has demonstrated that this domain is critical for the activity of Arabidopsis thaliana sulfate transporters, and specific lesions in this domain, or the exchange of STAS domains between different sulfate transporters, can severely impair transport activity. In this work we generated a Saccharomyces cerevisiae expression library of the A. thaliana Sultr1;2 gene with random mutations in the linking region-STAS domain and identified STAS domain lesions that altered Sultr1;2 biogenesis and/or function. A number of mutations in the beta-sheet that forms the core of the STAS domain prevented intracellular accumulation of Sultr1;2. In contrast, the linking region and one surface of the STAS domain containing N termini of the first and second alpha-helices have a number of amino acids critical for the function of the protein; mutations in these regions still allow protein accumulation in the plasma membrane, but the protein is no longer capable of efficiently transporting sulfate into cells. These results suggest that the STAS domain is critical for both the activity and biosynthesis/stability of the transporter, and that STAS sub-domains correlate with these specific functions.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M603462200
View details for Web of Science ID 000239542600058
View details for PubMedID 16754669
Genome sequences of two Synechococcus ecotypes inhabiting the Octopus Spring microbial mat in Yellowstone National Park revealed the presence of all genes required for nitrogenase biosynthesis. We demonstrate that nif genes of the Synechococcus ecotypes are expressed in situ in a region of the mat that varies in temperature from 53.5 degrees C to 63.4 degrees C (average 60 degrees C); transcripts are only detected at the end of the day when the mat becomes anoxic. Nitrogenase activity in mat samples was also detected in the evening. Hitherto, N2 fixation in hot spring mats was attributed either to filamentous cyanobacteria (not present at >50 degrees C in these mats) or to heterotrophic bacteria. To explore how energy-generating processes of the Synechococcus ecotypes track natural light and O2 conditions, we evaluated accumulation of transcripts encoding proteins involved in photosynthesis, respiration, and fermentation. Transcripts from photosynthesis (cpcF, cpcE, psaB, and psbB) and respiration (coxA and cydA) genes declined in the evening. In contrast, transcripts encoding enzymes that may participate in fermentation fell into two categories; some (ldh, pdhB, ald, and ackA) decreased in the evening, whereas others (pflB, pflA, adhE, and acs) increased at the end of the day and remained high into the night. Energy required for N2 fixation during the night may be derived from fermentation pathways that become prominent as the mat becomes anoxic. In a broader context, our data suggest that there are critical regulatory switches in situ that are linked to the diel cycle and that these switches alter many metabolic processes within the microbial mat.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.0507513103
View details for Web of Science ID 000235411600071
View details for PubMedID 16467157
The availability of genome sequences makes it possible to develop microarrays that can be used for profiling gene expression over developmental time, as organisms respond to environmental challenges, and for comparison between wild-type and mutant strains under various conditions. The desired characteristics of microarrays (intense signals, hybridization specificity and extensive coverage of the transcriptome) were not fully met by the previous Chlamydomonas reinhardtii microarray: probes derived from cDNA sequences (approximately 300 bp) were prone to some nonspecific cross-hybridization and coverage of the transcriptome was only approximately 20%. The near completion of the C. reinhardtii nuclear genome sequence and the availability of extensive cDNA information have made it feasible to improve upon these aspects. After developing a protocol for selecting a high-quality unigene set representing all known expressed sequences, oligonucleotides were designed and a microarray with approximately 10,000 unique array elements (approximately 70 bp) covering 87% of the known transcriptome was developed. This microarray will enable researchers to generate a global view of gene expression in C. reinhardtii. Furthermore, the detailed description of the protocol for selecting a unigene set and the design of oligonucleotides may be of interest for laboratories interested in developing microarrays for organisms whose genome sequences are not yet completed (but are nearing completion).
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00294-005-0041-2
View details for Web of Science ID 000234906200004
View details for PubMedID 16333659
The Chlamydomonas reinhardtii transcription factor PSR1 is required for the control of activities involved in scavenging phosphate from the environment during periods of phosphorus limitation. Increased scavenging activity reflects the development of high-affinity phosphate transport and the expression of extracellular phosphatases that can cleave phosphate from organic compounds in the environment. A comparison of gene expression patterns using microarray analyses and quantitative PCRs with wild-type and psr1 mutant cells deprived of phosphorus has revealed that PSR1 also controls genes encoding proteins with potential "electron valve" functions--these proteins can serve as alternative electron acceptors that help prevent photodamage caused by overexcitation of the photosynthetic electron transport system. In accordance with this finding, phosphorus-starved psr1 mutants die when subjected to elevated light intensities; at these intensities, the wild-type cells still exhibit rapid growth. Acclimation to phosphorus deprivation also involves a reduction in the levels of transcripts encoding proteins involved in photosynthesis and both cytoplasmic and chloroplast translation as well as an increase in the levels of transcripts encoding stress-associated chaperones and proteases. Surprisingly, phosphorus-deficient psr1 cells (but not wild-type cells) also display expression patterns associated with specific responses to sulfur deprivation, suggesting a hitherto unsuspected link between the signal transduction pathways involved in controlling phosphorus and sulfur starvation responses. Together, these results demonstrate that PSR1 is critical for the survival of cells under conditions of suboptimal phosphorus availability and that it plays a key role in controlling both scavenging responses and the ability of the cell to manage excess absorbed excitation energy.
View details for DOI 10.1128/EC.5.1.26-44.2006
View details for Web of Science ID 000234725100002
View details for PubMedID 16400166
View details for Web of Science ID 000240705600096
During sulfur deprivation, the photosynthetic green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii develops a high-affinity sulfate uptake system and increases the expression of genes encoding proteins involved in sulfur assimilation. Although two regulatory elements, SAC1 and SAC3, have been shown to be required for normal acclimation of C. reinhardtii to sulfur deprivation, a number of other regulatory elements appear to also be involved. The molecular mechanisms by which these regulatory elements function are largely unknown. This manuscript presents our current knowledge of sulfur deprivation responses and the regulation of these responses in C. reinhardtii. In addition, we present preliminary results of a sub-saturation screen for novel sulfur acclimation mutants of C. reinhardtii. A speculative model, incorporating the activities of established regulatory elements with putative novel components of the signal transduction pathway(s) is discussed.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11120-005-4048-9
View details for Web of Science ID 000235165000014
View details for PubMedID 16307308
Organisms exhibit a diverse set of responses when exposed to low-phosphate conditions. Some of these responses are specific for phosphorus limitation, including responses that enable cells to efficiently scavenge phosphate from internal and external stores via the production of high-affinity phosphate transporters and the synthesis of intracellular and extracellular phosphatases. Other responses are general and occur under a number of different environmental stresses, helping coordinate cellular metabolism and cell division with the growth potential of the cell. In this article, we describe the isolation and characterization of a mutant of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, low-phosphate bleaching (lpb1), which dies more rapidly than wild-type cells during phosphorus limitation. The responses of this mutant to nitrogen limitation appear normal, although the strain is also somewhat more sensitive than wild-type cells to sulfur deprivation. Interestingly, depriving the cells of both nutrients simultaneously allows for sustained survival that is similar to that observed with wild-type cells. Furthermore, upon phosphorus deprivation, the lpb1 mutant, like wild-type cells, exhibits increased levels of mRNA encoding the PHOX alkaline phosphatase, the PTB2 phosphate transporter, and the regulatory element PSR1. The mutant strain is also able to synthesize the extracellular alkaline phosphatase activity upon phosphorus deprivation and the arylsulfatase upon sulfur deprivation, suggesting that the specific responses to phosphorus and sulfur deprivation are normal. The LPB1 gene was tagged by insertion of the ARG7 gene, which facilitated its isolation and characterization. This gene encodes a protein with strong similarity to expressed proteins in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and predicted proteins in Oryza sativa and Parachlamydia. A domain in the protein contains some similarity to the superfamily of nucleotide-diphospho-sugar transferases, and it is likely to be localized to the chloroplast or mitochondrion based on programs that predict subcellular localization. While the precise catalytic role and physiological function of the putative protein is not known, it may function in some aspect of polysaccharide metabolism and/or influence phosphorus metabolism (either structural or regulatory) in a way that is critical for allowing the cells to acclimate to nutrient limitation conditions.
View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.105.059550
View details for Web of Science ID 000229023100032
View details for PubMedID 15849300
View details for Web of Science ID 000236446500004
Responses of photosynthetic organisms to sulfur starvation include (i) increasing the capacity of the cell for transporting and/or assimilating exogenous sulfate, (ii) restructuring cellular features to conserve sulfur resources, and (iii) modulating metabolic processes and rates of cell growth and division. We used microarray analyses to obtain a genome-level view of changes in mRNA abundances in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii during sulfur starvation. The work confirms and extends upon previous findings showing that sulfur deprivation elicits changes in levels of transcripts for proteins that help scavenge sulfate and economize on the use of sulfur resources. Changes in levels of transcripts encoding members of the light-harvesting polypeptide family, such as LhcSR2, suggest restructuring of the photosynthetic apparatus during sulfur deprivation. There are also significant changes in levels of transcripts encoding enzymes involved in metabolic processes (e.g., carbon metabolism), intracellular proteolysis, and the amelioration of oxidative damage; a marked and sustained increase in mRNAs for a putative vanadium chloroperoxidase and a peroxiredoxin may help prolong survival of C. reinhardtii during sulfur deprivation. Furthermore, many of the sulfur stress-regulated transcripts (encoding polypeptides associated with sulfate uptake and assimilation, oxidative stress, and photosynthetic function) are not properly regulated in the sac1 mutant of C. reinhardtii, a strain that dies much more rapidly than parental cells during sulfur deprivation. Interestingly, sulfur stress elicits dramatic changes in levels of transcripts encoding putative chloroplast-localized chaperones in the sac1 mutant but not in the parental strain. These results suggest various strategies used by photosynthetic organisms during acclimation to nutrient-limited growth.
View details for DOI 10.1128/EC.3.5.1331-1348.2004
View details for Web of Science ID 000224822300027
View details for PubMedID 15470261
Sulfate transporters in plants and animals are structurally conserved and have an amino-terminal domain that functions in transport and a carboxyl-terminal region that has been designated the STAS domain. The STAS domain in sulfate transporters has significant similarity to bacterial anti-sigma factor antagonists. To determine if the STAS domain has a role in controlling the activity of sulfate transporters, their stability, or their localization to the plasma membrane, we examined the effect of deleting or modifying the STAS domain of dominant sulfate transporters in roots of Arabidopsis thaliana. The A. thaliana Sultr1;2 and Sultr1;1 sulfate transporters rescue the methionine-dependent growth phenotype of the yeast sulfate transporter mutant strain CP154-7B. Constructs of Sultr1;2 in which the STAS domain was deleted (DeltaSTAS) resulted in synthesis of a truncated polypeptide that was unable to rescue the CP154-7B phenotype. The inability of these constructs to rescue the mutant phenotype probably reflected both low level cellular accumulation of the transporter and the inability of the truncated protein to localize to the plasma membrane. Fusing the STAS domain from other sulfate transporters to Sultr1;2 DeltaSTAS constructs restored elevated accumulation and plasma membrane localization, although the kinetics of sulfate uptake in the transformants were markedly altered with respect to transformants synthesizing wild-type Sultr1;2 protein. These results suggest that the STAS domain is essential, either directly or indirectly, for facilitating localization of the transporters to the plasma membrane, but it also appears to influence the kinetic properties of the catalytic domain of transporters.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M403248200
View details for Web of Science ID 000222531900110
View details for PubMedID 15136568
A sensor histidine kinase of Synechococcus sp. strain PCC7942, designated nblS, was previously identified and shown to be critical for the acclimation of cells to high-light and nutrient limitation conditions and to influence the expression of a number of light-responsive genes. The nblS orthologue in Synechocystis sp. strain PCC6803 is designated dspA (also called hik33). We have generated a dspA null mutant and analyzed global gene expression in both the mutant and wild-type strains under high- and low-light conditions. The mutant is aberrant for the expression of many genes encoding proteins critical for photosynthesis, phosphate and carbon acquisition, and the amelioration of stress conditions. Furthermore, transcripts from a number of genes normally detected only during exposure of wild-type cells to high-light conditions become partially constitutive in the low-light-grown dspA mutant. Other genes for which transcripts decline upon exposure of wild-type cells to high light are already lower in the mutant during growth in low light. These results suggest that DspA may influence gene expression in both a positive and a negative manner and that the dspA mutant behaves as if it were experiencing stress conditions (e.g., high-light exposure) even when maintained at near-optimal growth conditions for wild-type cells. This is discussed with respect to the importance of DspA for regulating the responses of the cell to environmental cues.
View details for Web of Science ID 000221869100026
View details for PubMedID 15175303
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a valuable model system for defining the structure and function of polypeptides of the photosynthetic apparatus and the dynamic aspects of photosynthesis. Recently, a genome-wide analysis of cDNAs and a draft genome sequence that covers approximately 90% of the genome were made available, providing a clear picture of the composition of specific gene families, the relationships among the gene family members, and the location of each member on the genome. We used the available sequence information to analyze the extensive family of light-harvesting genes in C. reinhardtii. There are nine genes encoding polypeptides of the major light-harvesting complex of photosystem II, two genes encoding the minor light-harvesting polypeptides of photosystem II, and nine genes encoding polypeptides predicted to comprise the photosystem I light-harvesting complex. Furthermore, there are five genes encoding early light-induced proteins and two genes encoding LI818 polypeptides. A candidate for the PsbS gene has also been found in the raw genome sequence data (Niyogi, personal communication), although no genes encoding homologues of the Sep, or Hli polypeptides have been identified. In this manuscript, we identify and classify the family of light-harvesting polypeptides encoded on the C. reinhardtii genome. This is an important first step in designing specific genetic, biochemical, and physiological studies aimed at characterizing the composition, function, and regulation of the light-harvesting complexes.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00294-003-0460-x
View details for Web of Science ID 000188748600001
View details for PubMedID 14652691
This review focuses on the biosynthesis of pigments in the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and their physiological and regulatory functions in the context of information gathered from studies of other photosynthetic organisms. C. reinhardtii is serving as an important model organism for studies of photosynthesis and the pigments associated with the photosynthetic apparatus. Despite extensive information pertaining to the biosynthetic pathways critical for making chlorophylls and carotenoids, we are just beginning to understand the control of these pathways, the coordination between pigment and apoprotein synthesis, and the interactions between the activities of these pathways and those for other important cellular metabolites branching from these pathways. Other exciting areas relating to pigment function are also emerging: the role of intermediates of pigment biosynthesis as messengers that coordinate metabolism in the chloroplast with nuclear gene activity, and the identification of photoreceptors and their participation in critical cellular processes including phototaxis, gametogenesis, and the biogenesis of the photosynthetic machinery. These areas of research have become especially attractive for intensive development with the application of potent molecular and genomic tools currently being applied to studies of C. reinhardtii.
View details for DOI 10.1146/annurev.genet.38.072902.092328
View details for Web of Science ID 000226244600005
View details for PubMedID 15568974
The phototactic behavior of individual cells of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC6803 was studied with a glass slide-based phototaxis assay. Data from fluence rate-response curves and action spectra suggested that there were at least two light input pathways regulating phototaxis. We observed that positive phototaxis in wild-type cells was a low fluence response, with peak spectral sensitivity at 645 and 704 nm. This red-light-induced phototaxis was inhibited or photoreversible by infrared light (760 nm). Previous work demonstrated that a taxD1 mutant (Cyanobase accession no. sll0041; also called pisJ1) lacked positive but maintained negative phototaxis. Therefore, the TaxD1 protein, which has domains that are similar to sequences found in both bacteriophytochrome and the methyl-accepting chemoreceptor protein, is likely to be the photoreceptor that mediates positive phototaxis. Wild-type cells exhibited negative phototaxis under high-intensity broad-spectrum light. This phenomenon is predominantly blue light responsive, with a maximum sensitivity at approximately 470 nm. A weakly negative phototactic response was also observed in the spectral region between 600 and 700 nm. A deltataxD1 mutant, which exhibits negative phototaxis even under low-fluence light, has a similar action maximum in the blue region of the spectrum, with minor peaks from green to infrared (500 to 740 nm). These results suggest that while positive phototaxis is controlled by the red light photoreceptor TaxD1, negative phototaxis in Synechocystis sp. strain PCC6803 is mediated by one or more (as yet) unidentified blue light photoreceptors.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JB.185.5.1599-1607.2003
View details for Web of Science ID 000181151200015
View details for PubMedID 12591877
The National Science Foundation-funded Chlamydomonas reinhardtii genome project involves (a) construction and sequencing of cDNAs isolated from cells exposed to various environmental conditions, (b) construction of a high-density cDNA microarray, (c) generation of genomic contigs that are nucleated around specific physical and genetic markers, (d) generation of a complete chloroplast genome sequence and analyses of chloroplast gene expression, and (e) the creation of a Web-based resource that allows for easy access of the information in a format that can be readily queried. Phases of the project performed by the groups at the Carnegie Institution and Duke University involve the generation of normalized cDNA libraries, sequencing of cDNAs, analysis and assembly of these sequences to generate contigs and a set of predicted unique genes, and the use of this information to construct a high-density DNA microarray. In this paper, we discuss techniques involved in obtaining cDNA end-sequence information and the ways in which this information is assembled and analyzed. Descriptions of protocols for preparing cDNA libraries, assembling cDNA sequences and annotating the sequence information are provided (the reader is directed to Web sites for more detailed descriptions of these methods). We also discuss preliminary results in which the different cDNA libraries are used to identify genes that are potentially differentially expressed.
View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.016899
View details for Web of Science ID 000181005000003
View details for PubMedID 12586865
Photosynthetic activity and the composition of the photosynthetic apparatus are strongly regulated by environmental conditions. Some visually dramatic changes in pigmentation of cyanobacterial cells that occur during changing nutrient and light conditions reflect marked alterations in components of the major light-harvesting complex in these organisms, the phycobilisome. As noted well over 100 years ago, the pigment composition of some cyanobacteria is very sensitive to ambient wavelengths of light; this sensitivity reflects molecular changes in polypeptide constituents of the phycobilisome. The levels of different pigmented polypeptides or phycobiliproteins that become associated with the phycobilisome are adjusted to optimize absorption of excitation energy present in the environment. This process, called complementary chromatic adaptation, is controlled by a bilin-binding photoreceptor related to phytochrome of vascular plants; however, many other regulatory elements also play a role in chromatic adaptation. My perspectives and biases on the history and significance of this process are presented in this essay.
View details for PubMedID 16228579
Over the past decade new technologies have been developed to elucidate ways in which cells acclimate to environmental change. Many of these techniques have allowed the identification of specific transcripts that change in abundance in response to particular environmental stimuli; such transcripts represent genes that are potentially differentially regulated. Two techniques that foster identification of differentially regulated genes are differential display and expression profiling using high density DNA microarrays. The former technology amplifies cDNA fragments from mRNAs that differentially accumulate under specific environmental conditions, while the latter provides a more global view of changes in gene expression in response to environmental stimuli. Coupling these technologies with the analysis of mutants aberrant for regulatory molecules that participate in acclimation processes will allow the identification of groups of genes controlled by specific regulatory elements. In this article we describe the use of differential display and DNA microarray profiling to examine environmentally-regulated gene expression. We also show specific experiments using the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, in which mRNA abundance is evaluated in response to both changing light and CO(2) conditions.
View details for PubMedID 16245082
Certain cyanobacteria thrive in natural habitats in which light intensities can reach 2000 micromol photon m(-2) s(-1) and nutrient levels are extremely low. Recently, a family of genes designated hli was demonstrated to be important for survival of cyanobacteria during exposure to high light. In this study we have identified members of the hli gene family in seven cyanobacterial genomes, including those of a marine cyanobacterium adapted to high-light growth in surface waters of the open ocean (Prochlorococcus sp. strain Med4), three marine cyanobacteria adapted to growth in moderate- or low-light (Prochlorococcus sp. strain MIT9313, Prochlorococcus marinus SS120, and Synechococcus WH8102), and three freshwater strains (the unicellular Synechocystis sp. strain PCC6803 and the filamentous species Nostoc punctiforme strain ATCC29133 and Anabaena sp. [Nostoc] strain PCC7120). The high-light-adapted Prochlorococcus Med4 has the smallest genome (1.7 Mb), yet it has more than twice as many hli genes as any of the other six cyanobacterial species, some of which appear to have arisen from recent duplication events. Based on cluster analysis, some groups of hli genes appear to be specific to either marine or freshwater cyanobacteria. This information is discussed with respect to the role of hli genes in the acclimation of cyanobacteria to high light, and the possible relationships among members of this diverse gene family.
View details for Web of Science ID 000178923300007
View details for PubMedID 12399037
Under high-light conditions, photoprotective mechanisms minimize the damaging effects of excess light. A primary photoprotective mechanism is thermal dissipation of excess excitation energy within the light-harvesting complex of photosystem II (LHCII). Although roles for both carotenoids and specific polypeptides in thermal dissipation have been reported, neither the site nor the mechanism of this process has been defined precisely. Here, we describe the physiological and molecular characteristics of the Chlamydomonas reinhardtii npq5 mutant, a strain that exhibits little thermal dissipation. This strain is normal for state transition, high light-induced violaxanthin deepoxidation, and low light growth, but it is more sensitive to photoinhibition than the wild type. Furthermore, both pigment data and measurements of photosynthesis suggest that the photosystem II antenna in the npq5 mutant has one-third fewer light-harvesting trimers than do wild-type cells. The npq5 mutant is null for a gene designated Lhcbm1, which encodes a light-harvesting polypeptide present in the trimers of the photosystem II antennae. Based on sequence data, the Lhcbm1 gene is 1 of 10 genes that encode the major LHCII polypeptides in Chlamydomonas. Amino acid alignments demonstrate that these predicted polypeptides display a high degree of sequence identity but maintain specific differences in their N-terminal regions. Both physiological and molecular characterization of the npq5 mutant suggest that most thermal dissipation within LHCII of Chlamydomonas is dependent on the peripherally associated trimeric LHC polypeptides.
View details for DOI 10.1005/tpc.002154
View details for Web of Science ID 000177604700010
View details for PubMedID 12172023
We have used restriction fragment differential display for isolating genes of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii that exhibit elevated expression on exposure of cells to high light. Some of the high light-activated genes were also controlled by CO2 concentration. Genes requiring both elevated light and low CO2 levels for activation encoded both novel polypeptides and those that function in concentrating inorganic carbon (extracellular carbonic anhydrase, low CO2-induced protein, ABC transporter of the MRP subfamily). All the genes in this category were shown to be under the control of Cia5, a protein that regulates the responses of C. reinhardtii to low-CO2 conditions. Genes specifically activated by high light, even under high-CO2 conditions, encoded a 30 kDa chloroplast membrane protein, a serine hydroxymethyltransferase, a nuclease, and two proteins of unknown function. Experiments using DCMU, an inhibitor of photosynthetic electron transport, and mutants devoid of either photosystem I or photosystem II activity, showed aberrant expression of all the genes regulated by both CO2 and high light, suggesting that redox plays a role in controlling their expression. In contrast, there was little effect of DCMU or lesions that block photosynthetic electron transport on the activity of genes that were specifically controlled by high light.
View details for Web of Science ID 000175531600004
View details for PubMedID 12000678
To optimize photosynthesis, cyanobacteria move toward or away from a light source by a process known as phototaxis. Phototactic movement of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC6803 is a surface-dependent phenomenon that requires type IV pili, cellular appendages implicated in twitching and social motility in a range of bacteria. To elucidate regulation of cyanobacterial motility, we generated transposon-tagged mutants with aberrant phototaxis; mutants were either nonmotile or exhibited an "inverted motility response" (negative phototaxis) relative to wild-type cells. Several mutants contained transposons in genes similar to those involved in bacterial chemotaxis. Synechocystis PCC6803 has three loci with chemotaxis-like genes, of which two, Tax1 and Tax3, are involved in phototaxis. Transposons interrupting the Tax1 locus yielded mutants that exhibited an inverted motility response, suggesting that this locus is involved in controlling positive phototaxis. However, a strain null for taxAY1 was nonmotile and hyperpiliated. Interestingly, whereas the C-terminal region of the TaxD1 polypeptide is similar to the signaling domain of enteric methyl-accepting chemoreceptor proteins, the N terminus has two domains resembling chromophore-binding domains of phytochrome, a photoreceptor in plants. Hence, TaxD1 may play a role in perceiving the light stimulus. Mutants in the Tax3 locus are nonmotile and do not make type IV pili. These findings establish links between chemotaxis-like regulatory elements and type IV pilus-mediated phototaxis.
View details for Web of Science ID 000169456600098
View details for PubMedID 11404477
View details for Web of Science ID 000168081800001
Comparisons of codon frequencies of genes to several gene classes are used to characterize highly expressed and alien genes on the SYNECHOCYSTIS: PCC6803 genome. The primary gene classes include the ensemble of all genes (average gene), ribosomal protein (RP) genes, translation processing factors (TF) and genes encoding chaperone/degradation proteins (CH). A gene is predicted highly expressed (PHX) if its codon usage is close to that of the RP/TF/CH standards but strongly deviant from the average gene. Putative alien (PA) genes are those for which codon usage is significantly different from all four classes of gene standards. In SYNECHOCYSTIS:, 380 genes were identified as PHX. The genes with the highest predicted expression levels include many that encode proteins vital for photosynthesis. Nearly all of the genes of the RP/TF/CH gene classes are PHX. The principal glycolysis enzymes, which may also function in CO(2) fixation, are PHX, while none of the genes encoding TCA cycle enzymes are PHX. The PA genes are mostly of unknown function or encode transposases. Several PA genes encode polypeptides that function in lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis. Both PHX and PA genes often form significant clusters (operons). The proteins encoded by PHX and PA genes are described with respect to functional classifications, their organization in the genome and their stoichiometry in multi-subunit complexes.
View details for Web of Science ID 000167970300024
View details for PubMedID 11266562
View details for PubMedID 16228311