Current Research and Scholarly Interests
How photosynthetic organisms perceive and respond to their environment
How photosynthetic organisms perceive and respond to their environment
Symbiosis between unicellular dinoflagellates (genus Symbiodinium) and their cnidarian hosts (e.g. corals, sea anemones) is the foundation of coral reef ecosystems. Dysfunction of this symbiosis under changing environmental conditions has led to global reef decline. Little information is known about Symbiodinium gene expression and mechanisms by which light impacts host-symbiont associations. To address these issues, we generated a transcriptome from axenic Symbiodinium strain SSB01. Here we report features of the transcriptome, including occurrence and length distribution of spliced leader sequences, the functional landscape of encoded proteins and the impact of light on gene expression. Expression of many Symbiodinium genes appears to be significantly impacted by light. Transcript encoding cryptochrome 2 declined in high light while some transcripts for Regulators of Chromatin Condensation (RCC1) declined in the dark. We also identified a transcript encoding a light harvesting AcpPC protein with homology to Chlamydomonas LHCSR2. The level of this transcript increased in high light autotrophic conditions, suggesting that it is involved in photo-protection and the dissipation of excess absorbed light energy. The most extensive changes in transcript abundances occurred when the algae were transferred from low light to darkness. Interestingly, transcripts encoding several cell adhesion proteins rapidly declined following movement of cultures to the dark, which correlated with a dramatic change in cell surface morphology, likely reflecting the complexity of the extracellular matrix. Thus, light-sensitive cell adhesion proteins may play a role in establishing surface architecture, which may in turn alter interactions between the endosymbiont and its host.
View details for DOI 10.1111/tpj.12789
View details for Web of Science ID 000351682300006
View details for PubMedID 25664570
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
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii insertion mutants disrupted for genes encoding acetate kinases (EC 22.214.171.124) (ACK1 and ACK2) and a phosphate acetyltransferase (EC 126.96.36.199) (PAT2, but not PAT1) were isolated to characterize fermentative acetate production. ACK1 and PAT2 were localized to chloroplasts, while ACK2 and PAT1 were shown to be in mitochondria. Characterization of the mutants showed that PAT2 and ACK1 activity in chloroplasts plays a dominant role (relative to ACK2 and PAT1 in mitochondria) in producing acetate under dark, anoxic conditions and, surprisingly, also suggested that Chlamydomonas has other pathways that generate acetate in the absence of ACK activity. We identified a number of proteins associated with alternative pathways for acetate production that are encoded on the Chlamydomonas genome. Furthermore, we observed that only modest alterations in the accumulation of fermentative products occurred in the ack1, ack2, and ack1 ack2 mutants, which contrasts with the substantial metabolite alterations described in strains devoid of other key fermentation enzymes.
View details for DOI 10.1105/tpc.114.129965
View details for PubMedID 25381350
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
The green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a popular unicellular organism for studying photosynthesis, cilia biogenesis, and micronutrient homeostasis. Ten years since its genome project was initiated an iterative process of improvements to the genome and gene predictions has propelled this organism to the forefront of the omics era. Housed at Phytozome, the plant genomics portal of the Joint Genome Institute (JGI), the most up-to-date genomic data include a genome arranged on chromosomes and high-quality gene models with alternative splice forms supported by an abundance of whole transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) data. We present here the past, present, and future of Chlamydomonas genomics. Specifically, we detail progress on genome assembly and gene model refinement, discuss resources for gene annotations, functional predictions, and locus ID mapping between versions and, importantly, outline a standardized framework for naming genes.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.tplants.2014.05.008
View details for Web of Science ID 000343359900011
View details for PubMedID 24950814
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
Iron is a crucial cofactor in numerous redox-active proteins operating in bioenergetic pathways including respiration and photosynthesis. Cellular iron management is essential to sustain sufficient energy production and minimize oxidative stress. To produce energy for cell growth, the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii possesses the metabolic flexibility to use light and/or carbon sources such as acetate. To investigate the interplay between the iron-deficiency response and growth requirements under distinct trophic conditions, we took a quantitative proteomics approach coupled to innovative hierarchical clustering using different "distance-linkage combinations" and random noise injection. Protein co-expression analyses of the combined data sets revealed insights into cellular responses governing acclimation to iron deprivation and regulation associated with photosynthesis dependent growth. Photoautotrophic growth requirements as well as the iron deficiency induced specific metabolic enzymes and stress related proteins, and yet differences in the set of induced enzymes, proteases, and redox-related polypeptides were evident, implying the establishment of distinct response networks under the different conditions. Moreover, our data clearly support the notion that the iron deficiency response includes a hierarchy for iron allocation within organelles in C. reinhardtii. Importantly, deletion of a bifunctional alcohol and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ADH1), which is induced under low iron based on the proteomic data, attenuates the remodeling of the photosynthetic machinery in response to iron deficiency, and at the same time stimulates expression of stress-related proteins such as NDA2, LHCSR3, and PGRL1. This finding provides evidence that the coordinated regulation of bioenergetics pathways and iron deficiency response is sensitive to the cellular and chloroplast metabolic and/or redox status, consistent with systems approach data.
View details for DOI 10.1074/mcp.M113.029991
View details for PubMedID 23820728
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
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
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
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
A microbial species concept is crucial for interpreting the variation detected by genomics and environmental genomics among cultivated microorganisms and within natural microbial populations. Comparative genomic analyses of prokaryotic species as they are presently described and named have led to the provocative idea that prokaryotes may not form species as we think about them for plants and animals. There are good reasons to doubt whether presently recognized prokaryotic species are truly species. To achieve a better understanding of microbial species, we believe it is necessary to (i) re-evaluate traditional approaches in light of evolutionary and ecological theory, (ii) consider that different microbial species may have evolved in different ways and (iii) integrate genomic, metagenomic and genome-wide expression approaches with ecological and evolutionary theory. Here, we outline how we are using genomic methods to (i) identify ecologically distinct populations (ecotypes) predicted by theory to be species-like fundamental units of microbial communities, and (ii) test their species-like character through in situ distribution and gene expression studies. By comparing metagenomic sequences obtained from well-studied hot spring cyanobacterial mats with genomic sequences of two cultivated cyanobacterial ecotypes, closely related to predominant native populations, we can conduct in situ population genetics studies that identify putative ecotypes and functional genes that determine the ecotypes' ecological distinctness. If individuals within microbial communities are found to be grouped into ecologically distinct, species-like populations, knowing about such populations should guide us to a better understanding of how genomic variation is linked to community function.
View details for DOI 10.1038/sj.hdy.6801011
View details for Web of Science ID 000252585800014
View details for PubMedID 17551524
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
View details for Web of Science ID 000254563600177
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
The unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a particularly important model organism for the study of photosynthesis since this alga can grow heterotrophically, and mutants in photosynthesis are therefore conditional rather than lethal. The recently developed tools for genomic analyses of this organism have allowed us to identify most of the genes required for chlorophyll and carotenoid biosynthesis and to examine their phylogenetic relationships with homologous genes from vascular plants, other algae, and cyanobacteria. Comparative genome analyses revealed some intriguing features associated with pigment biosynthesis in C. reinhardtii; in some cases, there are additional conserved domains in the algal and plant but not the cyanobacterial proteins that may directly influence their activity, assembly, or regulation. For some steps in the chlorophyll biosynthetic pathway, we found multiple gene copies encoding putative isozymes. Phylogenetic studies, theoretical evaluation of gene expression through analysis of expressed sequence tag data and codon bias of each gene, enabled us to generate hypotheses concerning the function and regulation of the individual genes, and to propose targets for future research. We have also used quantitative polymerase chain reaction to examine the effect of low fluence light on the level of mRNA accumulation encoding key proteins of the biosynthetic pathways and examined differential expression of those genes encoding isozymes that function in the pathways. This work is directing us toward the exploration of the role of specific photoreceptors in the biosynthesis of pigments and the coordination of pigment biosynthesis with the synthesis of proteins of the photosynthetic apparatus.
View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.104.056069
View details for Web of Science ID 000229023100048
View details for PubMedID 15849308
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
Cyanobacteria constitute an ancient, diverse and ecologically important bacterial group. The responses of these organisms to light and nutrient conditions are finely controlled, enabling the cells to survive a range of environmental conditions. In particular, it is important to understand how cyanobacteria acclimate to the absorption of excess excitation energy and how stress-associated transcripts accumulate following transfer of cells from low- to high-intensity light. In this study, quantitative RT-PCR was used to monitor changes in levels of transcripts encoding chaperones and stress-associated proteases in three cyanobacterial strains that inhabit different ecological niches: the freshwater strain Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, the marine high-light-adapted strain Prochlorococcus MED4 and the marine low-light-adapted strain Prochlorococcus MIT9313. Levels of transcripts encoding stress-associated proteins were very sensitive to changes in light intensity in all of these organisms, although there were significant differences in the degree and kinetics of transcript accumulation. A specific set of genes that seemed to be associated with high-light adaptation (groEL/groES, dnaK2, dnaJ3, clpB1 and clpP1) could be targeted for more detailed studies in the future. Furthermore, the strongest responses were observed in Prochlorococcus MED4, a strain characteristic of the open ocean surface layer, where hsp genes could play a critical role in cell survival.
View details for DOI 10.1099/mic.0.27014-0
View details for Web of Science ID 000221538000025
View details for PubMedID 15133090
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 recent discovery of large numbers of phytochrome photoreceptor genes in both photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic prokaryotes has led to efforts to understand their physiological roles in environmental acclimation. One receptor in this class, RcaE, is involved in controlling complementary chromatic adaptation, a process that regulates the transcription of operons encoding light-harvesting proteins in cyanobacteria. Although all previously identified phytochrome responses are maximally sensitive to red and far red light, complementary chromatic adaptation is unique in that it is responsive to green and red light. Here, we present biochemical and genetic evidence demonstrating that RcaE is a photoreceptor and that it requires the cysteine at position 198 to ligate an open chain tetrapyrrole covalently in a manner analogous to chromophore attachment in plant phytochromes. Furthermore, although the wild-type rcaE gene can rescue red and green light photoresponses of an rcaE null mutant, a gene in which the codon for cysteine 198 is converted to an alanine codon rescues the red light but not the green light response. Thus, RcaE is a photoreceptor that is required for both green and red light responsiveness during complementary chromatic adaptation and is the first identified phytochrome class sensor that is involved in sensing and responding to green and red light rather than red and far red light.
View details for DOI 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2003.03853.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000187890800022
View details for PubMedID 14756794
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
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
View details for Web of Science ID 000184422000018
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
Plastids of diatoms and related algae are delineated by four membranes: the outermost membrane (CER) is continuous with the endoplasmic reticulum while the inner two membranes are homologous to plastid envelope membranes of vascular plants and green algae. Proteins are transported into these plastids by pre-sequences that have two recognizable domains. To characterize targeting of polypeptides within diatom cells, we generated constructs encoding green fluorecent protein (GFP) fused to leader sequences. A fusion of GFP to the pre-sequence of BiP [an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-localized chaperone] resulted in accumulation of GFP within the ER; a construct encoding the pre-sequence of a plastid protein fused to GFP was directed into the plastids. Additional constructs demonstrated that the N-terminal region of the bipartite plastid targeting pre-sequence was necessary for transport of polypeptides to the lumen of the ER, while the C-terminal region was shown to enable the proteins to traverse the plastid double envelope membrane. Our data strongly support the hypothesis of a multi-step plastid targeting process in chromophytic algae and raises questions about the continuity of the ER and CER and the function of the latter in polypeptide trafficking.
View details for DOI 10.1242/jcs.00092
View details for Web of Science ID 000179254000009
View details for PubMedID 12356911
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
We screened for transposon-generated mutants of Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 that exhibited aberrant phototactic movement. Of the 300 mutants generated, about 50 have been partially characterized; several contained transposons in genes encoding chemotaxis-related proteins, while others mapped to novel genes. These novel genes and their possible roles in motility are discussed.
View details for Web of Science ID 000171267100040
View details for PubMedID 11567015
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
There are five Synechocystis PCC6803 genes encoding polypeptides with similarity to the Lhc polypeptides of plants. Four of the polypeptides, designated HliA-D (Dolganov, N. A. M., Bhaya, D., and Grossman, A. R. (1995) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 92, 636-640) (corresponding to ScpC, ScpD, ScpB, and ScpE in Funk, C., and Vermaas, W. (1999) Biochemistry 38, 9397-9404) contain a single transmembrane domain. The fifth polypeptide (HemH) represents a fusion between a ferrochelatase and an Hli-like polypeptide. By using an epitope tag to identify specifically the different Hli polypeptides, the accumulation of each (excluding HemH) was examined under various environmental conditions. The levels of all of the Hli polypeptides were elevated in high light and during nitrogen limitation, whereas HliA, HliB, and HliC also accumulated to high levels following exposure to sulfur deprivation and low temperature. The temporal pattern of accumulation was significantly different among the different Hli polypeptides. HliC rapidly accumulated in high light, and its level remained high for at least 24 h. HliA and HliB also accumulated rapidly, but their levels began to decline 9-12 h following the imposition of high light. HliD was transiently expressed in high light and was not detected 24 h after the initiation of high light exposure. These results demonstrate that there is specificity to the accumulation of the Hli polypeptides under a diverse range of environmental conditions. Furthermore, mutants for the individual and combinations of the hli genes were evaluated for their fitness to grow in high light. Although all of the mutants grew as fast as wild-type cells in low light, strains inactivated for hliA or hliC/hliD were unable to compete with wild-type cells during co-cultivation in high light. A mutant lacking all four hli genes gradually lost its photosynthesis capacity and died in high light. Hence, the Hli polypeptides are critical for survival when Synechocystis PCC6803 is absorbing excess excitation energy and may allow the cells to cope more effectively with the production of reactive oxygen species.
View details for Web of Science ID 000166280700042
View details for PubMedID 11024039
View details for PubMedID 16228311
View details for Web of Science ID 000169691500001
Organisms acclimate to a continually fluctuating nutrient environment. Acclimation involves responses specific for the limiting nutrient as well as responses that are more general and occur when an organism experiences different stress conditions. Specific responses enable organisms to efficiently scavenge the limiting nutrient and may involve the induction of high-affinity transport systems and the synthesis of hydrolytic enzymes that facilitate the release of the nutrient from extracellular organic molecules or from internal reserves. General responses include changes in cell division rates and global alterations in metabolic activities. In photosynthetic organisms there must be precise regulation of photosynthetic activity since when severe nutrient limitation prevents continued cell growth, excitation of photosynthetic pigments could result in the formation of reactive oxygen species, which can severely damage structural and functional features of the cell. This review focuses on ways that photosynthetic eukaryotes assimilate the macronutrients nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus, and the mechanisms that govern assimilatory activities. Also discussed are molecular responses to macronutrient limitation and the elicitation of those responses through integration of environmental and cellular cues.
View details for Web of Science ID 000169615600008
Global identification of differentially regulated genes in prokaryotes is constrained because the mRNA does not have a 3' polyadenylation extension; this precludes specific separation of mRNA from rRNA and tRNA and synthesis of cDNAs from the entire mRNA population. Knowledge of the entire genome sequence of Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 has enabled us to develop a differential display procedure that takes advantage of a short palindromic sequence that is dispersed throughout the Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 genome. This sequence, designated the HIP (highly iterated palindrome) element, occurs in approximately half of the Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 genes but is absent in rRNA and tRNA genes. To determine the feasibility of exploiting the HIP element, alone or in combination with specific primer subsets, for analyzing differential gene expression, we used HIP-based primers to identify light intensity-regulated genes. Several gene fragments, including those encoding ribosomal proteins and phycobiliprotein subunits, were differentially amplified from RNA templates derived from cells grown in low light or exposed to high light for 3 h. One novel finding was that expression of certain genes of the pho regulon, which are under the control of environmental phosphate levels, were markedly elevated in high light. High-light activation of pho regulon genes correlated with elevated growth rates that occur when the cells are transferred from low to high light. These results suggest that in high light, the rate of growth of Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 exceeds its capacity to assimilate phosphate, which, in turn, may trigger a phosphate starvation response and activation of the pho regulon.
View details for Web of Science ID 000089576300007
View details for PubMedID 11004166
To cope with low nutrient availability in nature, organisms have evolved inducible systems that enable them to scavenge and efficiently utilize the limiting nutrient. Furthermore, organisms must have the capacity to adjust their rate of metabolism and make specific alterations in metabolic pathways that favor survival when the potential for cell growth and division is reduced. In this article I will focus on the acclimation of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a unicellular, eukaryotic green alga to conditions of nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus deprivation. This organism has a distinguished history as a model for classical genetic analyses, but it has recently been developed for exploitation using an array of molecular and genomic tools. The application of these tools to the analyses of nutrient limitation responses (and other biological processes) is revealing mechanisms that enable Chlamydomonas to survive harsh environmental conditions and establishing relationships between the responses of this morphologically simple, photosynthetic eukaryote and those of both nonphotosynthetic organisms and vascular plants.
View details for Web of Science ID 000090155400001
View details for PubMedID 11079767
We have recently shown that phototactic movement in the unicellular cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 requires type IV pilins. To elucidate further type IV pilus-dependent motility, we inactivated key genes implicated in pilus biogenesis and function. Wild-type Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 cells have two morphologically distinct pilus types (thick and thin pili). Of these, the thick pilus morphotype, absent in a mutant disrupted for the pilin-encoding pilA1 gene, appears to be required for motility. The thin pilus morphotype does not appear to be altered in the pilA1 mutant, raising the possibility that thin pili have a function distinct from that of motility. Mutants disrupted for pilA2, which encodes a second pilin-like protein, are still motile and exhibit no difference in morphology or density of cell-surface pili. In contrast, inactivation of pilD (encoding the leader peptidase) or pilC (encoding a protein required for pilus assembly) abolishes cell motility, and both pilus morphotypes are absent. Thus, the PilA1 polypeptide is required for the biogenesis of the thick pilus morphotype which, in turn, is necessary for motility (hence we refer to them as type IV pili). Furthermore, PilA2 is critical neither for motility nor for pilus biogenesis. Two genes encoding proteins with similarity to PilT, which is considered to be a component of the motor essential for type IV pilus-dependent movement, were also inactivated. A pilT1 mutant is (i) non-motile, (ii) hyperpiliated and (iii) accumulates higher than normal levels of the pilA1 transcript. In contrast, pilT2 mutants are motile, but are negatively phototactic under conditions in which wild-type cells are positively phototactic.
View details for Web of Science ID 000089054100022
View details for PubMedID 10972813
Genetic and physiological features of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii have provided a useful model for elucidating the function, biogenesis and regulation of the photosynthetic apparatus. Combining these characteristics with newly developed molecular technologies for engineering Chlamydomonas and the promise of global analyses of nuclear and chloroplast gene expression will add a new perspective to views on photosynthetic function and regulation.
View details for Web of Science ID 000086004800007
View details for PubMedID 10712957
Understanding the ways in which phosphorus metabolism is regulated in photosynthetic eukaryotes is critical for optimizing crop productivity and managing aquatic ecosystems in which phosphorus can be a major source of pollution. Here we describe a gene encoding a regulator of phosphorus metabolism, designated Psr1 (phosphorus starvation response), from a photosynthetic eukaryote. The Psr1 protein is critical for acclimation of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to phosphorus starvation. The N-terminal half of Psr1 contains a region similar to myb DNA-binding domains and the C-terminal half possesses glutamine-rich sequences characteristic of transcriptional activators. The level of Psr1 increases at least 10-fold upon phosphate starvation, and immunocytochemical studies demonstrate that this protein is nuclear-localized under both nutrient-replete and phosphorus-starvation conditions. Finally, Psr1 and angiosperm proteins have domains that are similar, suggesting a possible role for Psr1 homologs in the control of phosphorus metabolism in vascular plants. With the identification of regulators such as Psr1 it may become possible to engineer photosynthetic organisms for more efficient utilization of phosphorus and to establish better practices for the management of agricultural lands and natural ecosystems.
View details for Web of Science ID 000084375400118
View details for PubMedID 10611385
View details for Web of Science ID 000081229300001
Disruption of a gene for an alternative sigma factor, designated sigF, in the freshwater, unicellular cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC6803 resulted in a pleiotropic phenotype. Most notably, this mutant lost phototactic movement with a concomitant loss of pili, which are abundant on the surface of wild-type cells. The sigF mutant also secreted both high levels of yellow-brown and UV-absorbing pigments and a polypeptide that is similar to a large family of extracellular proteins that includes the hemolysins. Furthermore, the sigF mutant had a dramatically reduced level of the transcript from two tandemly arranged pilA genes (sll1694 and sll1695), which encode major structural components of type IV pili. Inactivation of these pilA genes eliminated phototactic movement, though some pili were still present in this strain. Together, these results demonstrate that SigF plays a critical role in motility via the control of pili formation and is also likely to regulate other features of the cell surface. Furthermore, the data provide evidence that type IV pili are required for phototactic movement in certain cyanobacteria and suggest that different populations of pili present on the Synechocystis cell surface may perform different functions.
View details for Web of Science ID 000079224500113
View details for PubMedID 10077659
View details for Web of Science ID 000084371200001
To optimize the utilization of photosynthate and avoid damage that can result from the absorption of excess excitation energy, photosynthetic organisms must rapidly modify the synthesis and activities of components of the photosynthetic apparatus in response to environmental cues. During nutrient-limited growth, cyanobacteria degrade their light-harvesting complex, the phycobilisome, and dramatically reduce the rate of photosynthetic electron transport. In this report, we describe the isolation and characterization of a cyanobacterial mutant that does not degrade its phycobilisomes during either sulfur or nitrogen limitation and exhibits an increased ratio of phycocyanin to chlorophyll during nutrient-replete growth. The mutant phenotype was complemented by a gene encoding a polypeptide with similarities to polypeptides that catalyze covalent bond formation between linear tetrapyrrole chromophores and subunits of apophycobiliproteins. The complementing gene, designated nblB, is expressed at approximately the same level in cells grown in nutrient-replete medium and medium devoid of either sulfur or nitrogen. These results suggest that the NblB polypeptide may be a constitutive part of the machinery that coordinates phycobilisome degradation with environmental conditions.
View details for Web of Science ID 000078040200033
View details for PubMedID 9882677
View details for Web of Science ID 000077966100001
Microorganisms must sense their environment and rapidly tune their metabolism to ambient conditions to efficiently use available resources. We have identified a gene encoding a response regulator, NblR, that complements a cyanobacterial mutant unable to degrade its light-harvesting complex (phycobilisome), in response to nutrient deprivation. Cells of the nblR mutant (i) have more phycobilisomes than wild-type cells during nutrient-replete growth, (ii) do not degrade phycobilisomes during sulfur, nitrogen, or phosphorus limitation, (iii) cannot properly modulate the phycobilisome level during exposure to high light, and (iv) die rapidly when starved for either sulfur or nitrogen, or when exposed to high light. Apart from regulation of phycobilisome degradation, NblR modulates additional functions critical for cell survival during nutrient-limited and high-light conditions. NblR does not appear to be involved in acclimation responses that occur only during a specific nutrient limitation. In contrast, it controls at least some of the general acclimation responses; those that occur during any of a number of different stress conditions. NblR plays a pivotal role in integrating different environmental signals that link the metabolism of the cell to light harvesting capabilities and the activities of the photosynthetic apparatus; this modulation is critical for cell survival.
View details for Web of Science ID 000075730500118
View details for PubMedID 9724820
A conserved regulatory mechanism protects plants against the potentially damaging effects of excessive light. Nearly all photosynthetic eukaryotes are able to dissipate excess absorbed light energy in a process that involves xanthophyll pigments. To dissect the role of xanthophylls in photoprotective energy dissipation in vivo, we isolated Arabidopsis xanthophyll cycle mutants by screening for altered nonphotochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence. The npq1 mutants are unable to convert violaxanthin to zeaxanthin in excessive light, whereas the npq2 mutants accumulate zeaxanthin constitutively. The npq2 mutants are new alleles of aba1, the zeaxanthin epoxidase gene. The high levels of zeaxanthin in npq2 affected the kinetics of induction and relaxation but not the extent of nonphotochemical quenching. Genetic mapping, DNA sequencing, and complementation of npq1 demonstrated that this mutation affects the structural gene encoding violaxanthin deepoxidase. The npq1 mutant exhibited greatly reduced nonphotochemical quenching, demonstrating that violaxanthin deepoxidation is required for the bulk of rapidly reversible nonphotochemical quenching in Arabidopsis. Altered regulation of photosynthetic energy conversion in npq1 was associated with increased sensitivity to photoinhibition. These results, in conjunction with the analysis of npq mutants of Chlamydomonas, suggest that the role of the xanthophyll cycle in nonphotochemical quenching has been conserved, although different photosynthetic eukaryotes rely on the xanthophyll cycle to different extents for the dissipation of excess absorbed light energy.
View details for Web of Science ID 000074952100007
View details for PubMedID 9668132
The light-saturated rate of photosynthetic O2 evolution in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii declined by approximately 75% on a per-cell basis after 4 d of P starvation or 1 d of S starvation. Quantitation of the partial reactions of photosynthetic electron transport demonstrated that the light-saturated rate of photosystem (PS) I activity was unaffected by P or S limitation, whereas light-saturated PSII activity was reduced by more than 50%. This decline in PSII activity correlated with a decline in both the maximal quantum efficiency of PSII and the accumulation of the secondary quinone electron acceptor of PSII nonreducing centers (PSII centers capable of performing a charge separation but unable to reduce the plastoquinone pool). In addition to a decline in the light-saturated rate of O2 evolution, there was reduced efficiency of excitation energy transfer to the reaction centers of PSII (because of dissipation of absorbed light energy as heat and because of a transition to state 2). These findings establish a common suite of alterations in photosynthetic electron transport that results in decreased linear electron flow when C. reinhardtii is limited for either P or S. It was interesting that the decline in the maximum quantum efficiency of PSII and the accumulation of the secondary quinone electron acceptor of PSII nonreducing centers were regulated specifically during S-limited growth by the SacI gene product, which was previously shown to be critical for the acclimation of C. reinhardtii to S limitation (J.P. Davies, F.H. Yildiz, and A.R. Grossman  EMBO J 15: 2150-2159).
View details for Web of Science ID 000073660500015
View details for PubMedID 9576782
View details for Web of Science ID 000076214200019
View details for Web of Science ID 000085848500669
Xanthophyll pigments have critical structural and functional roles in the photosynthetic light-harvesting complexes of algae and vascular plants. Genetic dissection of xanthophyll metabolism in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii revealed functions for specific xanthophylls in the nonradiative dissipation of excess absorbed light energy, measured as nonphotochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence. Mutants with a defect in either the alpha- or beta-branch of carotenoid biosynthesis exhibited less nonphotochemical quenching but were still able to tolerate high light. In contrast, a double mutant that was defective in the synthesis of lutein, loroxanthin (alpha-carotene branch), zeaxanthin, and antheraxanthin (beta-carotene branch) had almost no nonphotochemical quenching and was extremely sensitive to high light. These results strongly suggest that in addition to the xanthophyll cycle pigments (zeaxanthin and antheraxanthin), alpha-carotene-derived xanthophylls such as lutein, which are structural components of the subunits of the light-harvesting complexes, contribute to the dissipation of excess absorbed light energy and the protection of plants from photo-oxidative damage.
View details for Web of Science ID A1997YK82500143
View details for PubMedID 9391170
Complementary chromatic adaptation appears to be controlled by a complex regulatory system with similarity to four-step phosphorelays. Such pathways utilize two histidine and two aspartate residues for signal transduction. Previous studies of the signaling system controlling complementary chromatic adaptation have uncovered two elements of this pathway, a putative sensor, RcaE, and a response regulator, RcaC. In this work, we describe a second response regulator controlling complementary chromatic adaptation, RcaF, and identify putative DNA binding and histidine phosphoacceptor domains within RcaC. RcaF is a small response regulator with similarity to SpoOF of Bacillus subtilis; the latter functions in the four-step phosphorelay system controlling sporulation. We have also determined that within this phosphorelay pathway, RcaE precedes RcaF, and RcaC is probably downstream of RcaE and RcaF. This signal transduction pathway is novel because it appears to use at least five, instead of four, phosphoacceptor domains in the phosphorelay circuit.
View details for Web of Science ID A1997XE30000012
View details for PubMedID 9190806
The photosynthetic apparatus in plants is protected against oxidative damage by processes that dissipate excess absorbed light energy as heat within the light-harvesting complexes. This dissipation of excitation energy is measured as nonphotochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence. Nonphotochemical quenching depends primarily on the [delta]pH that is generated by photosynthetic electron transport, and it is also correlated with the amounts of zeaxanthin and antheraxanthin that are formed from violaxanthin by the operation of the xanthophyll cycle. To perform a genetic dissection of nonphotochemical quenching, we have isolated npq mutants of Chlamydomonas by using a digital video-imaging system. In excessive light, the npq1 mutant is unable to convert violaxanthin to antheraxanthin and zeaxanthin; this reaction is catalyzed by violaxanthin de-epoxidase. The npq2 mutant appears to be defective in zeaxanthin epoxidase activity, because it accumulates zeaxanthin and completely lacks antheraxanthin and violaxanthin under all light conditions. Characterization of these mutants demonstrates that a component of nonphotochemical quenching that develops in vivo in Chlamydomonas depends on the accumulation of zeaxanthin and antheraxanthin via the xanthophyll cycle. However, observation of substantial, rapid, [delta]pH-dependent nonphotochemical quenching in the npq1 mutant demonstrates that the formation of zeaxanthin and antheraxanthin via violaxanthin de-epoxidase activity is not required for all [delta]pH-dependent nonphotochemical quenching in this alga. Furthermore, the xanthophyll cycle is not required for survival of Chlamydomonas in excessive light.
View details for PubMedID 12237386
A nuclear transformation system has been developed for the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum using microparticle bombardment to introduce the sh ble gene from Streptoalloteichus hindustanus into cells. The sh ble gene encodes a protein that confers resistance to the antibiotics Zeocin and phleomycin. Chimeric genes containing promoter and terminator sequences from the P. tricornutum fcp genes were used to drive expression of sh ble. Between 10-100 transformants were recovered/10(8) cells. Transformants were able to grow on at least 500 micrograms/ml of Zeocin, which is 10 times the amount necessary to kill wild-type cells. Based on Southern hybridizations the sh ble gene was present in 1-3 copies/transformant. Relative levels of correctly processed transcripts were correlated with the abundance of the Sh ble protein (present at 0.1-2.0 micrograms/mg total protein). The cat reporter gene fused to a fcp promoter could also be introduced by microparticle bombardment and was found to be highly expressed (average of 7.1 U/mg total protein). This work demonstrates that heterologous genes can be readily expressed in P. tricornutum. The development of selectable marker and reporter gene constructs provides the tools necessary for dissecting gene structure and regulation, and introducing novel functions into diatoms.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996VQ51400009
View details for PubMedID 8914518
A Chlamydomonas reinhardtii adenosine triphosphate (ATP) sulfurylase cDNA clone (pATS1) was selected by complementing a mutation in the ATP sulfurylase gene (cysD) of Escherichia coli. E. coli cysD strains harboring pATS1 grow on medium containing sulfate as the sole sulfur source and exhibit ATP sulfurylase activity. The amino acid sequence of the C. reinhardtii ATP sulfurylase, derived from the nucleotide sequence of the complementing gene (ATS1), is 25 to 40% identical to that of ATP sulfurylases in other eukaryotic organisms and has a putative transit peptide at its amino terminus. ATP sulfurylase mRNA was present when cells were grown in sulfur-replete medium, but accumulated to higher levels when the cells were exposed to sulfur-limiting conditions. Furthermore, sulfur-stress-induced accumulation of the ATS1 transcript was reduced in a strain defective in SAC1, a gene that is critical for acclimation to sulfur-limited growth.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996VP17900025
View details for PubMedID 8883379
Complementary chromatic adaptation in cyanobacteria acts through photoreceptors to control the biosynthesis of light-harvesting complexes. The mutant FdBk, which appears black, cannot chromatically adapt and may contain a lesion in the apparatus that senses light quality. The complementing gene identified here, rcaE, encodes a deduced protein in which the amino-terminal region resembles the chromophore attachment domain of phytochrome photoreceptors and regions of plant ethylene receptors; the carboxyl- terminal half is similar to the histidine kinase domain of two-component sensor kinases.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996VF61000049
View details for PubMedID 8703080
We have examined the extracellular phosphatases produced by the terrestrial green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii in response to phosphorus deprivation. Phosphorus-deprived cells increase extra-cellular alkaline phosphatase activity 300-fold relative to unstarved cells. The alkaline phosphatases are released into the medium by cell-wall-deficient strains and by wild-type cells after treatment with autolysin, indicating that they are localized to the periplasm. Anion-exchange chromatography and analysis by nondenaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed that there are two major inducible alkaline phosphatases. A calcium-dependent enzyme composed of 190-kD glycoprotein subunits accounts for 85 to 95% of the Alkaline phosphatase activity. This phosphatase has optimal activity at pH 9.5 and a Km of 120 to 262 microns for all physiological substrates tested, with the exception of phytic acid, which it cleaved with a 50-fold lower efficiency. An enzyme with optimal activity at pH 9 and no requirement for divalent cations accounts for 2 to 10% of the alkaline phosphatase activity. This phosphatase was only able to efficiently hydrolyze arylphosphates. The information reported here, in conjunction with the results of previous studies, defines the complement of extracellular phosphatases produced by phosphorus-deprived Chlamydomonas cells.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996UX88100023
View details for PubMedID 8754684
The sac1 mutant of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is aberrant in most of the normal responses to sulfur limitation; it cannot synthesize arylsulfatase, does not take up sulfate as rapidly as wild-type cells, and does not synthesize periplasmic proteins that normally accumulate during sulfur-limited growth. Here, we show that the sac1 mutant dies much more rapidly than wild-type cells during sulfur deprivation; this emphasizes the vital role of the acclimation process. The loss of viability of the sac1 mutant during sulfur deprivation is only observed in the light and is mostly inhibited by DCMU. During sulfur-stress, wild-type cells, but not the sac1 mutant, downregulate photosynthesis. Thus, death of the sac1 mutant during sulfur deprivation is probably a consequence of its inability to downregulate photosynthesis. Furthermore, since SAC1 is necessary for the downregulation of photosynthesis, the process must be highly controlled and not simply the result of a general decrease in protein synthesis due to sulfur limitation. Genomic and cDNA copies of the SAC1 gene have been cloned. The deduced amino acid sequence of Sac1 is similar to an Escherichia coli gene that may involved in the response of E.coli to nutrient deprivation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996UK07400012
View details for PubMedID 8641280
A gene that may encode a novel protein disulfide oxidoreductase, designated txlA (thioredoxin-like), was isolated from the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC7942. Interruption of txlA near the putative thioredoxin-like active site yielded cells that grew too poorly to be analyzed. In contrast, a disruption of txlA near the C terminus that left the thioredoxin-like domain intact yielded two different mutant phenotypes. One type, designated txlXb, exhibited a slightly reduced growth rate and an increased cellular content of apparently normal phycobilisomes. The cellular content of phycobilisomes also increased in in the other mutant strain, designated txlXg. However, txlXg also exhibited a proportionate increase in chlorophyll and other components of the photosynthetic apparatus and grew as fast as wild-type cells. Both the txlXb and txlXg phenotypes were stable. The differences between the two strains may result from a genetic polymorphism extant in the original cell population. Further investigation of txlA may provide new insights into mechanisms that regulate the structure and function of the cyanobacterial photosynthetic apparatus.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995RA62200042
View details for PubMedID 7768827
Amino acid sequence alignments and phylogenetic analyses have been used to examine the relationships among 100 phycobiliprotein sequences. The alignments revealed a number of highly conserved amino acid residues that are involved in chromophore attachment and conformation, alpha-beta interactions and phycobilisome assembly. The phylogenetic analysis confirmed that the phycobiliprotein subfamilies, previously classified by their biochemical and spectroscopic properties, also formed coherent evolutionary groups. The alpha and beta subunits formed two distinct evolutionary lines that originate from a common ancestor. The pattern of divergence among the alpha subfamilies was identical to that of the beta subfamilies, strongly suggesting that the alpha and beta subunits of each phycobiliprotein type have coevolved. The phylogenetic data support a monophyletic separation of the eukaryotic sequences from the extant cyanobacterial sequences. The eukaryotic phycoerythrins appeared more closely related to the marine Synechococcus phycoerythrins than to the other cyanobacterial phycoerythrins. The cryptophyte phycobiliproteins formed a monophyletic group within the rhodophyte lineage. In conjunction with other phylogenetic markers, the analysis of additional phycobiliprotein sequences may help to further resolve the relationships among phycobiliprotein-containing organisms.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995QU29900006
View details for PubMedID 7731046
Six members of a multigene family encoding polypeptide constituents of the fucoxanthin, chlorophyll a/c protein complex from female gametophytes of the brown alga Macrocystis pyrifera have been cloned and characterized. The deduced amino acid sequences are very similar to those of fucoxanthin chlorophyll binding proteins (Fcp) from the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum and exhibit limited homology to chlorophyll a/b binding (Cab) polypeptides from higher plants. The primary translation products from the M. pyrifera fcp genes are synthesized as higher molecular weight precursors that are processed prior to their assembly into the Fcp complex. The presumed N-terminal 40-amino acid presequence of the Fcp precursor polypeptide has features resembling that of a signal sequence. This presequence may be required for the protein to transverse the endoplasmic reticulum that surrounds the plastid in brown algae. A subsequent targeting step would be required for the protein to cross the double membrane of the plastid envelope. M. pyrifera fcp transcripts are of two sizes, 1.2 and 1.6 kb. The size difference is accounted for by the length of the 3' untranslated region, which can be up to 1000 bases. Transcript abundance's of members of the fcp gene family are dependent on light quantity, light quality, or both. Transcript levels of one gene increased approximately five- to tenfold in thalli grown in low intensity relative to high intensity white or blue light. Transcripts from this gene also significantly increase in red light relative to blue light at equivalent light intensities.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995QL64300007
View details for PubMedID 7891659
We have isolated, from the prokaryotic cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942, a gene encoding a protein of 72 amino acids [designated high light inducible protein (HLIP)] with similarity to the extended family of eukaryotic chlorophyll a/b binding proteins (CABs). HLIP has a single membrane-spanning alpha-helix, whereas both the CABs and the related early light inducible proteins have three membrane-spanning helices. Hence, HLIP may represent an evolutionary progenitor of the eukaryotic members of the CAB extended family. We also show that the gene encoding HLIP is induced by high light and blue/UV-A radiation. The evolution, regulation, and potential function of HLIP are discussed.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995QC87400063
View details for PubMedID 7831342
View details for Web of Science ID A1995BE85L00120
This article focuses on light-harvesting complexes (LHCs) in oxygen evolving photosynthetic organisms. These organisms include cyanobacteria, red algae, plants, green algae, brown algae, diatoms, chrysophytes, and dinoflagellates. We highlight the diversity of pigment-protein complexes that fuel the conversion of radiant energy to chemical bond energy in land plants and the diverse groups of the algae, detail the ways in which environmental parameters (i.e. light quantity and quality, nutrients) modulate the synthesis of these complexes, and discuss the evolutionary relationships among the LHC structural polypeptides.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995TL71900010
View details for PubMedID 8825475
Many photosynthetic organisms can acclimate to the quantity and quality of light present in their environment. In certain cyanobacteria the wavelengths of light in the environment control the synthesis of specific polypeptides of the light harvesting antenna complex or phycobilisome. This phenomenon, called complementary chromatic adaptation, is most dramatically observed in a comparison of cyanobacteria after growth in green light and red light. In red light-grown cells the phycobilisome is largely composed of phycocyanin and its associated linker polypeptides (the latter are important for the assembly of the phycocyanin subunits and their placement within the light harvesting structure); the organisms appear blue-green in color. In green light-grown cells the phycobilisome is largely composed of phycoerythrin and its associated linker polypeptides; the organisms appear red in color. The ways in which these cyanobacteria sense their changing light environment and the regulatory elements involved in controlling the process of complementary chromatic adaptation are discussed in this review.
View details for PubMedID 7881070
When exposed to different spectral qualities of light, many cyanobacteria dramatically alter their phycobilisome rod composition in a process termed complementary chromatic adaptation. In the cyanobacterium Fremyella diplosiphon, this response is associated with differential expression of the cpcB2A2, cpeBA, and cpeCDE operons, which code for the phycobiliproteins phycocyanin and phycoerythrin and the phycoerythrin linker polypeptides, respectively. To define components of the signal transduction pathway involved in light-regulated expression of genes encoding phycobilisome polypeptides, we have used in vivo and in vitro techniques to identify cis-acting sequences and trans-acting factors necessary for the regulation of the red-light-inducible cpcB2A2 operon. Deletion of the cpcB2A2 upstream sequences to -76 bp with respect to the transcription start site had no effect on red-light induction of a cpcB2A2-beta-glucuronidase (GUS) chimeric gene, while deletion to -37 bp abolished GUS expression. Furthermore, a fragment of the cpcB2A2 gene from -76 to +25 bp linked to the untranslated leader of cpcB1A1 (a constitutively expressed operon encoding phycocyanin) is sufficient to drive high-level GUS expression in red light. Therefore, the sequence between positions -76 and -37 is necessary for the expression of cpcB2A2, and the region extending from -76 to +25 is sufficient for red-light induction of the operon. Attempts were made to correlate the in vivo data with protein binding in the region upstream of the transcription start site of cpcB2A2. Using in vitro analysis, we detected two protein-binding sites in the cpcB2A2 promoter which were localized to positions -162 to -122 and -37 to +25. Proteins from both red- and green-light-grown cells interacted with the former site, while only proteins present in extracts from red-light-grown cells interacted with the latter site. The data from both the in vivo and in vitro analyses suggest that while two regions upstream of the cpcB2A2 transcription initiation site specifically bind proteins, only the binding site bordering the transcription start site is important for complementary chromatic adaptation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1994PK77200026
View details for PubMedID 7929008
In Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, transcripts from the beta 2-tubulin gene (tubB2), as well as those from other tubulin-encoding genes, accumulate immediately after flagellar excision as well as at a specific time in the cell cycle. Control of tubB2 transcript accumulation following deflagellation is regulated, at least partially, at the transcriptional level. We have fused the tubB2 promoter to the arylsulfatase (ars) reporter gene, introduced this construct into C. reinhardtii, and compared expression of the chimeric gene with that of the endogenous tubB2 gene. After flagellar excision, transcripts from the tubB2/ars chimeric gene accumulate with kinetics similar to those of transcripts from the endogenous tubB2 gene. The tubB2/ars transcripts also accumulate in a cell cycle-specific manner; however, chimeric transcripts are more abundant earlier in the cell cycle than the endogenous tubB2 transcripts. To elucidate transcriptional control of tubB2, we have mutated or removed sequences in the tubB2 promoter and examined the effect on transcription. The tubB2 promoter shares features with the promoters of other tubulin-encoding genes; these include a GC-rich region between the TATA box and the transcription initiation site and multiple copies of a 10-bp sequence motif that we call the tub box. The tubB2 gene contains seven tub box motifs. Changing the GC-rich region to an AT-rich region or removing three of the seven tub box motifs did not significantly affect transcription of the chimeric gene. However, removing four or five tub box motifs prevented increased transcription following deflagellation and diminished cell cycle-regulated transcription from the tubB2 promoter.
View details for Web of Science ID A1994NY42900015
View details for PubMedID 8035797
View details for Web of Science ID A1994NJ47300015
Phycobilisomes are the multiprotein complexes predominantly responsible for harvesting light energy in cyanobacteria and some eukaryotic algae. When the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 is deprived of an essential nutrient, the phycobilisomes are specifically and rapidly degraded. Degradation may be either partial (after phosphorus deprivation) or complete (after sulfur or nitrogen deprivation). We have developed a visual screen to obtain mutants unable to degrade their phycobilisomes upon nutrient starvation. Complementation of one of these mutants led to the identification of a gene, designated nblA, that encodes a 59 amino acid polypeptide essential for phycobilisome degradation. Transcription of nblA increases dramatically in sulfur- or nitrogen-deprived cells and moderately in phosphorus-deprived cells. Using the phosphorus-regulated alkaline phosphatase (phoA) promoter as a tool, we engineered constructs from which we could control the expression of either sense or antisense nblA. Increased expression of sense nbLA caused complete phycobilisome degradation during phosphorus deprivation, while expression of antisense nblA prevented phycobilisome degradation. Hence, nblA is necessary, and may be sufficient, for the degradation of phycobilisomes under adverse environmental conditions. Further investigation of the mechanism by which nblA causes phycobilisome destruction may reveal general principles that govern the specificity of macromolecular complex degradation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1994NA28800005
View details for PubMedID 8131738
In the absence of sulfur, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a unicellular green alga, increases its rate of sulfate import and synthesizes several periplasmic proteins, including an arylsulfatase (Ars). These changes appear to help cells acclimate to a sulfur-deficient environment. The elevated rate of sulfate import results from an increase in the capacity and affinity of the transport system for sulfate. The synthesis of Ars, a periplasmic enzyme that cleaves sulfate from aromatic compounds, enables cells to use these molecules as a source of sulfur when free sulfate is not available. To characterize the ways in which C. reinhardtii perceives changes in the sulfur status of the environment and regulates its responses to these changes, we mutagenized cells and isolated strains exhibiting aberrant accumulation of Ars activity. These mutants were characterized for Ars activity, ars mRNA accumulation, periplasmic protein accumulation, and sulfate transport activity when grown in both sulfur-sufficient and sulfur-deficient conditions. All of the mutants exhibited pleiotropic effects with respect to several of these responses. Strains harboring double mutant combinations were constructed and characterized for Ars activity and ars mRNA accumulation. From the mutant phenotypes, we inferred that both positive and negative regulatory elements were involved in the acclimation process. Both the epistatic relationships among the mutations and the effects of the lesions on the responses of C. reinhardtii to sulfur limitation distinguished these mutants from similar mutants in Neurospora crassa.
View details for PubMedID 12244220
View details for Web of Science ID A1994BB56S00019
We have characterized sulfate transport in the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii during growth under sulfur-sufficient and sulfur-deficient conditions. Both the Vmax and the substrate concentration at which sulfate transport is half of the maximum velocity of the sulfate transport (K1/2) for uptake were altered in starved cells: the Vmax increased approximately 10-fold, and the K1/2 decreased approximately 7-fold. This suggests that sulfur-deprived C. reinhardtii cells synthesize a new, high-affinity sulfate transport system. This system accumulated rapidly; it was detected in cells within 1 h of sulfur deprivation and reached a maximum by 6 h. A second response to sulfur-limited growth, the production of arylsulfatase, was apparent only after 3 h of growth in sulfur-free medium. The enhancement of sulfate transport upon sulfur starvation was prevented by cycloheximide, but not by chloramphenicol, demonstrating that protein synthesis on 80S ribosomes was required for the development of the new, high-affinity system. The transport of sulfate into the cells occurred in both the light and the dark. Inhibition of ATP formation by the antibiotics carbonylcyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone and gramicidin-S and inhibition of either F- or P-type ATPases by N,N-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide and vanadate completely abolished sulfate uptake. Furthermore, nigericin, a carboxylate ionophore that exchanges H+ for K+, inhibited transport in both the light and the dark. Finally, uptake in the dark was strongly inhibited by valinomycin. These results suggest that sulfate transport in C. reinhardtii is an energy-dependent process and that it may be driven by a proton gradient generated by a plasma membrane ATPase.
View details for PubMedID 12232142
We have developed a simple procedure for generating mutants of the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 in which the site of the lesion can be readily identified. This procedure involves transforming Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 with a library of its own DNA that was fully digested with Sau3A and ligated into the plasmid vector pUC8. The homologous integration of the recombinant plasmid into the genome will often result in the disruption of a gene and the loss of gene function. We have used this method to generate many mutants of Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 which grow as multicellular filaments rather than as unicells. Since the gene harboring the lesion was tagged with pUC8, it was easily isolated. In this paper, we discuss the usefulness of this procedure for the generation of mutants, and we characterize one mutant in which the lesion may be in an operon involved in the assembly of lipopolysaccharides.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993MH73700016
View details for PubMedID 8244933
We are studying the multigene family encoding the fucoxanthin-chlorophyll binding proteins (fcp genes) that constitute the major component of the photosystem II-associated light harvesting complex in diatoms and brown algae. The characteristics of clusters of fcp genes on the genome of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum are described. Sequence analysis of two genomic clones, PT5 and PT4, has demonstrated the presence of four fcp genes (fcpA, fcpB, fcpC, fcpD) on the former and two fcp genes (fcpE, fcpF) on the latter. The proteins encoded by the six characterized fcp genes range in similarity from 86% to 99%. The genes within each cluster are separated by short intergenic sequences (between 0.5 to 1.1 kb). None of these genes contain introns and all appear to be transcribed with short 5' transcribed, untranslated leader sequences; the transcription initiation sites were mapped 26 to 48 bases upstream of the ATG translation start site. Small conserved motifs are found among all of the genes just upstream of both the translation and the transcription start sites. The codon bias is similar in all of the fcp genes, with a predominance of pyrimidines in the third positions of codons of the four codon families. The two fcp genes that are most similar are fcpC and fcpD, and might represent a recent gene duplication. Southern analyses using fcp cDNAs as hybridization probes suggest that there may be additional sequences on the P. tricornutum genome that resemble the characterized fcp sequences.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993MB07000004
View details for PubMedID 8233779
Photosynthetic organisms can acclimate to their environment by changing many cellular processes, including the biosynthesis of the photosynthetic apparatus. In this article we discuss the phycobilisome, the light-harvesting apparatus of cyanobacteria and red algae. Unlike most light-harvesting antenna complexes, the phycobilisome is not an integral membrane complex but is attached to the surface of the photosynthetic membranes. It is composed of both the pigmented phycobiliproteins and the nonpigmented linker polypeptides; the former are important for absorbing light energy, while the latter are important for stability and assembly of the complex. The composition of the phycobilisome is very sensitive to a number of different environmental factors. Some of the filamentous cyanobacteria can alter the composition of the phycobilisome in response to the prevalent wavelengths of light in the environment. This process, called complementary chromatic adaptation, allows these organisms to efficiently utilize available light energy to drive photosynthetic electron transport and CO2 fixation. Under conditions of macronutrient limitation, many cyanobacteria degrade their phycobilisomes in a rapid and orderly fashion. Since the phycobilisome is an abundant component of the cell, its degradation may provide a substantial amount of nitrogen to nitrogen-limited cells. Furthermore, degradation of the phycobilisome during nutrient-limited growth may prevent photodamage that would occur if the cells were to absorb light under conditions of metabolic arrest. The interplay of various environmental parameters in determining the number of phycobilisomes and their structural characteristics and the ways in which these parameters control phycobilisome biosynthesis are fertile areas for investigation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993LW44100010
View details for PubMedID 8246846
R-phycoerythrin is the major light-harvesting pigment protein of most red algal phycobilisomes. It is composed of three pigmented polypeptide subunits, the alpha, beta, and gamma. While alpha and beta phycoerythrin subunits are each unique in the red alga Aglaothamnion neglectum, there are two different gamma subunits with distinct molecular masses. Both gamma subunits are pigmented by virtue of covalently attached linear tetrapyrroles. The amino acid sequence of one of the gamma subunits, as deduced from the nucleotide sequence of a cDNA clone, has no significant similarity to any known sequence in the data bases. This result is surprising, since the gamma subunit of phycoerythrin is thought to have a function that is similar to cyanobacterial linker polypeptides. The A. neglectum gamma subunit is synthesized as a 36-kDa precursor protein that is processed at the amino terminus to yield a 33-kDa mature protein. The amino-terminal extension was able to direct the pea small subunit of Rubisco into isolated pea chloroplasts. This result suggests that red algae transport proteins into the plastid by a mechanism similar to that of higher plants. There are significant changes in levels of mRNA encoding the gamma 33 subunit when A. neglectum is grown under different conditions of illumination and in nitrogen-deficient medium. These changes parallel those previously observed for transcripts encoding the alpha and beta phycoerythrin subunits. Hence, there may be coordinated expression of nuclear and plastid-encoded phycoerythrin subunit genes.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993LQ33600021
View details for PubMedID 8344905
The genes encoding the alpha and beta subunits of allophycocyanin, phycocyanin and phycoerythrin from the red alga Aglaothamnion neglectum were isolated and characterized. While the operons containing the different phycobiliprotein genes are dispersed on the plastid genome, the genes encoding the alpha and beta subunits for each phycobiliprotein are contiguous. The beta subunit gene is 5' for both the phycocyanin and phycoerythrin operons, while the alpha subunit gene is 5' for the allophycocyanin operon. The amino acid sequences of A. neglectum phycobiliproteins, as deduced from the nucleotide sequences of the genes, are 65-85% identical to analogous proteins from other red algae and cyanobacteria. The conserved nature of the plastid-encoded red algal and cyanobacterial phycobiliprotein genes supports the proposed origin of red algal plastids from cyanobacterial endosymbionts. Many environmental factors effect phycobilisome biosynthesis. The effect of both nutrient availability and light quantity on the level of A. neglectum phycobiliprotein subunits and the mRNA species encoding those subunits is described.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993KK40700003
View details for PubMedID 7678762
Many cyanobacteria alter their phycobilisome composition in response to changes in light wavelength in a process termed complementary chromatic adaptation. Mutant strains FdR1 and FdR2 of the filamentous cyanobacterium Fremyella diplosiphon are characterized by aberrant chromatic adaptation. Instead of adjusting to different wavelengths of light, FdR1 and FdR2 behave as if they are always in green light; they do not respond to red light. We have previously reported complementation of FdR1 by conjugal transfer of a wild-type genomic library. The complementing DNA has now been localized by genetic analysis to a region on the rescued genomic subclone that contains a gene designated rcaC. This region of DNA is also able to complement FdR2. Southern blot analysis of genomic DNA from FdR1 and FdR2 indicates that these strains harbor DNA insertions within the rcaC sequence that may have resulted from the activity of transposable genetic elements. The predicted amino acid sequence of RcaC shares strong identity to response regulators of bacterial two-component regulatory systems. This relationship is discussed in the context of the signal-transduction pathway mediating regulation of genes encoding phycobilisome polypeptides during chromatic adaptation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992JT97700011
View details for PubMedID 1409650
Cell coloration changes from normal blue-green to yellow or yellow-green when the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 is deprived of an essential nutrient. We found that this bleaching process (chlorosis) in cells deprived of sulfur (S) was similar to that in cells deprived of nitrogen (N), but that cells deprived of phosphorus (P) bleached differently. Cells divided once after N deprivation, twice after S deprivation, and four times after P deprivation. Chlorophyll (Chl) accumulation stopped almost immediately upon N or S deprivation but continued for several hours after P deprivation. There was no net Chl degradation during N, S, or P deprivation, although cellular Chl content decreased because cell division continued after Chl accumulation ceased. Levels of the light-harvesting phycobiliproteins declined dramatically in a rapid response to N or S deprivation, reflecting an ordered breakdown of the phycobilisomes (PBS). In contrast, P-deprived cultures continued to accumulate PBS for several hours. Whole PBS were not extensively degraded in P-deprived cells, although the PBS contents of P-deprived cells declined because of continued cell division after PBS accumulation ceased. Levels of mRNAs encoding PBS polypeptides declined by 90 to 95% in N- or S-deprived cells and by 80 to 85% in P-deprived cells. These changes in both the synthesis and stability of PBS resulted in a 90% decline in the PC/Chl ratio of N- or S-deprived cells and a 40% decline in the PC/Chl ratio of P-deprived cells. Therefore, although bleaching appears to be a general response to nutrient deprivation, it is not the same under all nutrient-limited conditions and is probably composed of independently controlled subprocesses.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992JE39900022
View details for PubMedID 1624459
Arylsulfatase, produced by Chlamydomonas reinhardtii during sulfur-limited growth, is secreted into the periplasmic space and is readily assayed using a chromogenic substrate. To assess the usefulness of the gene encoding arylsulfatase (ars) as a reporter gene in C. reinhardtii, we have fused the promoter region of the beta 2-tubulin gene (tubB2) to the coding region of an ars genomic clone to form a tubB2/ars chimeric sequence. This construct was introduced into C. reinhardtii, strain CC425 (cw-15, arg-2), via cotransformation with the argininosuccinate lyase gene (which complements the arg-2 lesion) (1). Transformants expressing arylsulfatase (Ars) in sulfur-sufficient medium were isolated and subsequently shown to contain the tubB2/ars gene. RNA analysis determined that tubB2/ars transcripts accumulated in these cells. Abundance of the chimeric transcript increased immediately following deflagellation in a manner similar to that of the endogenous tubB2 transcript. Thus, chimeric genes incorporating ars coding sequences and heterologous promoters can be used to examine regulated gene expression in C. reinhardtii.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992JC85000005
View details for PubMedID 1620590
Diatoms and related algae, in contrast to higher plants, have a xanthophyll-dominated light harvesting complex and an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) network surrounding the plastid. We have previously demonstrated that polypeptide constituents of the light harvesting complex from the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum are nuclear encoded and synthesized as higher molecular weight precursors in the cytoplasm. The amino-termini of the precursor proteins, as deduced from their gene sequences, have features of a signal peptide. Here, we show that the precursor polypeptides can be cotranslationally imported and processed by an in vitro microsomal membrane system, suggesting that cytoplasmically synthesized proteins require a signal peptide to traverse an ER before entering the plastid. These results are discussed in the context of plastid evolution.
View details for Web of Science ID A1991GM74400011
View details for PubMedID 1944228
The alkaline phosphatase of Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 is 145 kDa, which is larger than any alkaline phosphatase previously characterized and approximately three times the size of the analogous enzyme in Escherichia coli. The gene for the alkaline phosphatase, phoA, was cloned and sequenced, and the protein that it encodes was found to have little similarity to other phosphatases. Some sequence similarities were observed between the Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 alkaline phosphatase, the alpha subunit of the ATPase from bacteria and chloroplasts, and the UshA sugar hydrolase of E. coli. Also, limited sequence similarity was observed between a region of the phosphatase and a motif implicated in nucleotide binding. Interestingly, although the alkaline phosphatase is transported across the inner cytoplasmic membrane and into the periplasmic space, it does not appear to have a cleavable signal sequence at its amino terminus. The half-life of the mRNA encoding the alkaline phosphatase, measured after inhibition of RNA synthesis, is approximately 5 min. Similar kinetics for the loss of alkaline phosphatase mRNA occur upon the addition of phosphate to phosphate-depleted cultures, suggesting that high levels of this nutrient inhibit transcription from phoA almost immediately. The phoA gene also appears to be the first gene of an operon; the largest detectable transcript that hybridizes to a phoA gene-specific probe is 11 kb, over twice the size needed to encode the mature protein. Other phosphate-regulated mRNAs are also transcribed upstream of the phoA gene. Insertional inactivation of phoA results in the loss of extracellular, phosphate-regulated phosphatase activity but does not alter the capacity of the cell for phosphate uptake.
View details for Web of Science ID A1991FX32700007
View details for PubMedID 1712356
A sulfur-regulated gene (cysA) that encodes the membrane-associated ATP-binding protein of the sulfate transport system of the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 was recently isolated and sequenced. Adjacent to cysA and transcribed in the opposite direction is a gene encoding the sulfate-binding protein (sbpA). Two other genes, cysT and cysW, encode proteins that may form a channel for the transport of sulfate across the cytoplasmic membrane. A fourth gene, cysR, located between cysT, and cysW, encodes a polypeptide that has some homology to a family of prokaryotic regulatory proteins. Mutant strains in which cysA, cysT, or cysW was interrupted by a drug resistance marker were not viable when grown with sulfate as the sole sulfur source and exhibited essentially no sulfate uptake. In contrast, sbpA and cysR mutants grew on sulfate, although they did not exhibit the 20-fold increase in the Vmax (concentration of sulfate at half-maximal transport rate) for sulfate transport characteristic of wild-type cells grown under sulfur-limiting conditions. Three of the sulfur-regulated genes in Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 are similar to genes encoded by the chloroplast genome of the primitive plant Marchantia polymorpha. These data suggest that a sulfate transport system similar to that of Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 may exist in the chloroplast envelope of photosynthetic eukaryotes.
View details for Web of Science ID A1991FK03800002
View details for PubMedID 1708375
During sulfur-limited growth, the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 loses most of its photosynthetic pigments and develops an increased capacity to acquire sulfate. Sulfur deprivation also triggers the synthesis of several soluble polypeptides. We have isolated a prominent polypeptide of 33 kDa that accumulates specifically under sulfur-limiting conditions. This polypeptide was localized to the periplasmic space. The gene for this protein (designated rhdA) was isolated and discovered to lie within a region of the Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 genome that encodes components of the sulfate permease system. The mRNA for the 33-kDa protein accumulates to high levels within an hour after the cells are deprived of sulfur and drops rapidly when sulfur is added back to the cultures. The amino acid sequence of the protein has similarity to bovine liver rhodanese, an enzyme that transfers the thiol group of thiosulfate to a thiophilic acceptor molecule, and a rhodaneselike protein of Saccharopolyspora erythraea. A strain in which rhdA was interrupted by a drug resistance marker exhibited marginally lower levels of rhodanese activity but was still capable of efficiently utilizing a variety of inorganic sulfur sources. The possible role of this protein in the transport of specific sulfur compounds is discussed.
View details for Web of Science ID A1991FK03800003
View details for PubMedID 1708376
We have cloned and characterized members of a gene family encoding polypeptide constituents of the fucoxanthin, chlorophyll a/c protein complex, a light-harvesting complex associated with photosystem II of diatoms and brown algae. Three cDNA clones encoding proteins associated with this complex in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum have been isolated. As deduced from the nucleotide sequences, these light-harvesting proteins show homology to the chlorophyll a/b binding polypeptides of higher plants. Specifically, the N-terminal regions of the fucoxanthin, chlorophyll a/c-binding proteins are homologous to the chlorophyll a/b binding proteins in both the third membrane-spanning domain and the stroma-exposed region between membrane-spanning domains 2 and 3. Like the chlorophyll a/b-binding proteins, the mature fucoxanthin, chlorophyll a/c polypeptides have three hydrophobic alpha-helical domains which could span the membrane bilayer. The similarities between the two light-harvesting proteins might reflect the fact that both bind chlorophyll molecules and/or might be important for maintaining certain structural features of the complex. There is little similarity between the N-terminal sequences of the primary translation products of the fucoxanthin, chlorophyll a/c proteins and any transit sequences that have been characterized. Instead, the N-terminal sequences have features resembling those of signal sequences. Thus either transit peptides used in P. tricornutum show little resemblance to those of higher plants and green algae or the nuclear-encoded plastid proteins enter the organelle via a mechanism different from that used in higher plants.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990EG01300012
View details for PubMedID 2277634
In cyanobacteria, the water-soluble cytochrome c-553 functions as a mobile carrier of electrons between the membrane-bound cytochrome b6-f complex and P-700 reaction centers of Photosystem I. The structural gene for cytochrome c-553 (designated cytA) of the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7942 was cloned, and the deduced amino acid sequence was shown to be similar to known cyanobacterial cytochrome c-553 proteins. A deletion mutant was constructed that had no detectable cytochrome c-553 based on spectral analyses and tetramethylbenzidine-hydrogen peroxide staining of proteins resolved by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The mutant strain was not impaired in overall photosynthetic activity. However, this mutant exhibited a decreased efficiency of cytochrome f oxidation. These results indicate that cytochrome c-553 is not an absolute requirement for reducing Photosystem I reaction centers in Synechococcus sp. PCC 7942.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990EB41800010
View details for PubMedID 1967057
View details for Web of Science ID A1990EE07400005
Phycoerythrin is a major pigmented component of the phycobilisome, a cyanobacterial light-harvesting complex. It contains bilin-type chromophores that absorb and transfer light energy to chlorophyll protein complexes of the photosynthetic membranes. In many cyanobacteria, phycoerythrin expression is regulated by light wavelength in a response known as chromatic adaptation. Green light-grown cells contain higher levels of this biliprotein than do cells grown in red light. The phycoerythrin gene set from the unicellular cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6701 was cloned and sequenced, and the 5' end of the phycoerythrin mRNA was localized. The amino acid sequences of the phycoerythrin subunits from Synechocystis strain 6701 and Fremyella diplosiphon were 90% identical. As observed in F. diplosiphon, the Synechocystis strain 6701 phycoerythrin transcript accumulated to high levels in green light-grown cells and low levels in red light-grown cells. Similar nucleotide sequences, which might control gene expression, occurred upstream of the transcription initiation sites of the phycoerythrin genes in both organisms. While the phycoerythrin structure and light-regulated transcript accumulation were similar in Synechocystis strain 6701 and F. diplosiphon, the steady-state levels of phycoerythrin subunits during growth in red light were quite different for the two organisms. This observation suggests that control of phycoerythrin levels in Synechocystis strain 6701 is complex and may involve posttranscriptional processes. We also characterized the phycoerythrin genes and mRNA levels in two phycobilisome assembly mutants, UV16-40 and UV16.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990CQ75200020
View details for PubMedID 2106507
The cyanobacterial phycobilisome is a large protein complex located on the photosynthetic membrane. It harvests light energy and transfers it to chlorophyll for use in photosynthesis. Phycobilisome assembly mutants in the unicellular cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain 6701 have been characterized. One such mutant, UV16, contains a defect in the assembly of the biliprotein phycocyanin. We report the cloning and sequencing of the phycocyanin genes from wild-type Synechocystis strain 6701 and demonstrate an alteration in the gene for the phycocyanin alpha subunit in UV16. Possible consequences of the lesion on phycobilisome assembly were assessed from its position in the phycocyanin tertiary and quaternary structures. The UV16 phenotype is complex and includes a reduced level of phycocyanin relative to that in the wild type. To determine whether the lower phycocyanin content results from lower transcript levels, a fragment of cpcBA was used as a probe for quantitating phycocyanin mRNA. Both the wild type and UV16 contained two phycocyanin transcripts of approximately 1.4 and 1.5 kilobases that were equal in abundance and that did not vary with light quality during cell growth. Equal levels of these transcripts in the wild type and UV16 suggest that the lower phycocyanin content in the mutant may be due to posttranscriptional events. The 5' ends of the two phycocyanin mRNAs were mapped at 100 and 223 base pairs upstream of the cpcB initiation codon. Homologous regions upstream of the putative transcription initiation sites may be important for maintaining high levels of transcription from the Synechocystis strain 6701 phycocyanin gene set.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990CQ75200019
View details for PubMedID 2106506
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii produces a periplasmic arylsulfatase in response to sulfur deprivation. We have isolated and sequenced arylsulfatase cDNAs from a lambda gt11 expression library. The amino acid sequence of the protein, as deduced from the nucleotide sequence, has features characteristic of secreted proteins, including a signal sequence and putative glycosylation sites. The gene has a broad codon usage with seven codons, all having A residues in the third position, not previously observed in C. reinhardtii genes. Arylsulfatase transcription is tightly regulated by sulfur availability. The approximately 2.7 kb arylsulfatase transcript is very susceptible to degradation, disappearing in less than an hour after sulfur starved cells are administered either sulfate or alpha-amanitin. The accumulation of the arylsulfatase transcript is also suppressed by the addition of cycloheximide. Transcription initiation from the arylsulfatase gene occurs approximately 100 bp upstream of the initiation codon, in a region that is 5' to a 43 bp imperfect inverted repeat. Preceding the transcription start site are sequences similar to those present in promoter regions of other genes from C. reinhardtii.
View details for Web of Science ID A1989AJ18300007
View details for PubMedID 2476654
If green light-acclimated Fremyella diplosiphon cultures are transferred to red light, the transcription from the inducible phycocyanin gene set increases at least 30-fold within 60 minutes. This effect is inhibited completely by the protein synthesis inhibitors chloramphenicol and spectinomycin. Application of chloramphenicol 30 minutes after transfer of cultures to inductive red light prevents further phycocyanin mRNA accumulation within 10 minutes. If red light-acclimated cells are transferred to green light, the phycocyanin transcript level declines by about 70% within 1 hour. Most of the green light-dependent decline results from the rapid cessation of transcription from the PC gene set. Chloramphenicol slows the decline to some extent by decreasing the rate of mRNA degradation in a light-independent manner. The accumulation of phycoerythrin mRNA after transfer of red light-acclimated cells to green light is also inhibited by chloramphenicol. However, there is no red light-dependent mechanism that rapidly halts phycoerythin mRNA synthesis after transfer of cultures from green to red light. Therefore, at least three light-dependent processes are involved in regulating phycobiliproteingene expression: chloramphenicol-sensitive processes required for the activation of phycocyanin and phycoerythrin gene sets and a chloramphenicol-insensitive process which blocks phycocyanin mRNA synthesis after transfer of cells from red to green light.
View details for Web of Science ID A1989AL17500044
View details for PubMedID 16666955
Three classes of pigment mutants were generated in Fremyella diplosiphon in the course of electroporation experiments. The red mutant class had high levels of phycoerythrin in both red and green light and no inducible phycocyanin in red light. Thus, this mutant behaved as if it were always in green light, regardless of light conditions. Blue mutants exhibited normal phycoerythrin photoregulation, whereas the inducible phycocyanin was present at high levels in both red- and green-light-grown cells. Furthermore, the absolute amount of allophycocyanin was increased threefold in comparison with our wild-type strain. Green mutants lost the capacity to accumulate phycoerythrin in green light but showed normal photoregulation of phycocyanin. Analyses of transcript abundance in these mutants demonstrated that changes in the levels of the different phycobilisome components correlated with changes in the levels of mRNAs encoding those components. The characterization of these mutants supports hypotheses previously discussed concerning molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of the phycobiliprotein gene sets during chromatic adaptation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1989T041700039
View details for PubMedID 2464582
DNA fragments encoding a red light-inducible phycocyanin gene and a green light-inducible phycoerythrin gene have been used to investigate the effect of red and green pulses on the accumulation of phycocyanin and phycoerythrin mRNA in subsequent darkness. A red pulse promotes phycocyanin and suppresses phycoerythrin mRNA accumulation while a green pulse has an opposite effect on both transcript levels. The effect of a saturating light pulse is canceled by a subsequently given pulse of the other light quality. For a given mRNA, the positive and negative effects require the same fluence for saturation, whereas to saturate the phycoerythrin mRNA response requires at least twice as much light as to saturate the phycocyanin mRNA response. Calculations of the apparent extinction coefficients for the pigments mediating the light-regulated mRNA increase and decrease are of the order of 2 x 10(4) for phycocyanin mRNA and less than 10(4) for phycoerythrin mRNA. The data are consistent with the hypothesis that the light-induced increase and decrease of a particular phycobiliprotein mRNA is controlled by a single red/green photoreversible photosystem, but that phycoerythrin and phycocyanin mRNA levels are either controlled by two distinct photoreversible systems or that marked differences occur in the chain of events leading from photoperception to gene activation. These system(s) differ from most phytochrome systems in several ways: First, they remain fully on or off depending upon the light quality of the terminal irradiation. Second, they can be completely reversed by light of the appropriate wavelength after several hours of darkness without diminution of the effectiveness of the reversing light pulse. These two features argue against the existence of dark reversion or dark destruction of the biologically active moiety. Third, signal transduction is rapid-measurable mRNA changes occur even during a 10 minute irradiation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988R574400029
View details for PubMedID 16666426
We have used gene-specific DNA fragments as hybridization probes to quantitate the levels of transcripts encoding several phycobilisome polypeptides in the cyanobacterium Fremyella diplosiphon in response to changes in the light environment. While the levels of transcripts encoding allophycocyanin, the core linker polypeptide, and the constitutive phycocyanin subunits are similar in F. diplosiphon grown either in red or green light, the levels of other transcripts change dramatically. Transcripts encoding the inducible phycocyanin subunits are barely detected in green light-grown cells and very abundant in red light-grown cells, while the level of phycoerythrin mRNA is approximately 10-fold more in green than red light-grown cells. Quantitation of the phycoerythrin and inducible phycocyanin transcripts after transfer of cultures from green to red light and red to green light demonstrate that both increase rapidly upon exposure of cells to inductive illumination. The decrease in the phycoerythrin mRNA level in red light is much slower than the decline in the levels of the inducible phycocyanin transcripts in green light. Since the half-lives of the inducible phycocyanin and phycoerythrin transcripts do not change when F. diplosiphon is exposed to red or green illumination, the steady state levels of these mRNAs are primarily controlled by the rate of transcription. Therefore, the high level of phycoerythrin mRNA maintained for several hours after cultures are transferred from green to red illumination must result from continued transcription of the phycoerythrin gene set. Differences in expression from the phycoerythrin and inducible phycocyanin gene sets in response to light quality are discussed in terms of possible mechanisms involved in their regulation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988R574400028
View details for PubMedID 16666425
View details for Web of Science ID A1988P569400003
We have examined the increase in alkaline phosphatase activity in the cyanobacterium Anacystis nidulans R2 upon phosphate deprivation. Much of the activity is released into the medium when A. nidulans is osmotically shocked, indicating that the enzyme is located either in the periplasmic space or is loosely bound to the cell wall. The polypeptide associated with phosphatase activity has been identified as a single species of M(r) 160,000. Several lines of evidence demonstrate that this polypeptide is responsible for alkaline phosphatase activity: (a) It is absent when cells are grown in the presence of phosphate and specifically accumulates during phosphate deprivation. (b) It is the major periplasmic polypeptide extracted by osmotic shock. (c) It represents over 90% of the protein in a fraction of periplasmic polypeptides enriched for phosphatase activity. (d) Antibodies raised against the purified species of M(r) 160,000 inhibit phosphatase activity by approximately 70%.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988N059700038
View details for PubMedID 16666051
The major light-harvesting complex in eukaryotic red algae and prokaryotic cyanobacteria is the phycobilisome, a water-soluble complex located on the outer surface of the photosynthetic membranes and composed of both pigmented phycobiliproteins (85%) and non-pigmented linker (15%) polypeptides. The phycobiliproteins are encoded by a gene family and exhibit varying degrees of sequence homology (25 to 55%). Some cyanobacteria can maximize the absorption of prevalent wavelengths of light by adjusting the phycobiliprotein composition of the phycobilisome, a process called complementary chromatic adaptation. In the chromatically adapting species Fremyella displosiphon, there are at least two sets of phycocyanin genes; one is transcribed as two red light-induced transcripts and the other is encoded on a single transcript present in both red and green light. We have determined the complete nucleotide sequences of both sets of phycocyanin subunit genes and their associated 5' and 3' regulatory regions. Based on S1 nuclease protection experiments, the transcripts (1600 and 3800 bases) encoding the inducible phycocyanin subunits have the same 5' end, and possible mechanisms for their synthesis are presented. The 5' end of the 1500-base transcript encoding the constitutive phycocyanin subunits was determined and revealed an Escherichia coli-like "-10" and "-35" region, and sequences near the transcription initiation site homologous to the analogous region of the phycocyanin gene set of Anabaena sp. 7120. Determination of the 3' ends of the transcripts encoding both F. diplosiphon phycocyanin gene sets revealed regions of potential secondary structure that may be important for transcription termination and/or transcript stability. In addition, the sequence of an open reading frame (encoding a 30 kDa polypeptide), located 3' to the constitutive phycocyanin gene set in F. diplosiphon and highly conserved in at least three cyanobacterial species, is presented. The same high degree of sequence homology between the two F. diplosiphon PC alpha and PC beta sequences (85 and 77%, respectively) was found at both the nucleotide and amino acid levels, and similar results were obtained for interspecies comparisons. Implications of these homologies with regard to the evolution of phycobiliprotein subunits are discussed.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988M072200005
View details for PubMedID 3127591
Sulfur-starved cells of Anacystis nidulans have an increased capacity to take up sulfate. The apparent Vmax for sulfate uptake increased at least 10-fold after 24 h of sulfur deprivation, whereas the K1/2 remained unchanged at approximately 1.35 microM. The initial rate of sulfate uptake increased between 2 and 6 h after transfer of the cells to sulfur-free medium, in concert with elevated levels of three cytoplasmic membrane polypeptides with molecular masses of 43, 42, and 36 kilodaltons (kDa). The amounts of these polypeptides did not increase in response to nitrogen or phosphorus deprivation. A fourth cytoplasmic membrane polypeptide of 17 kDa did not appear until 24 h after transfer to sulfur-deficient medium. In the total soluble fraction, three polypeptides with masses of 36.5, 33.5, and 28.5 kDa increased dramatically in response to sulfur deprivation, but not in response to nitrogen or phosphorus deprivation. The specificity and abundance of these polypeptides indicate that they could play an important role in the response of A. nidulans to sulfur deprivation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988L890200015
View details for PubMedID 3123460
The unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii responds to sulfate deprivation by producing an arylsulfatase (Lien, T., and O. Schreiner. 1975. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 384:168-179; Schreiner, O., 1975. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 384:180-193) and by developing the capacity to transport sulfate more rapidly (our unpublished data). The arylsulfatase activity, detectable 3 h after the transfer of the cells to low sulfate medium (less than or equal to 10 microM sulfate), is a periplasmic protein released into the culture medium by cw15, a cell wall-less mutant of C. reinhardtii. We have purified the derepressible arylsulfatase to homogeneity and have raised monospecific antibodies to it. The protein monomer (67.6 kD) associates into a dimer, and the enzyme activity shows an alkaline pH optimum and a Km of 0.3 mM for p-nitrophenylsulfate. Studies focused on arylsulfatase biosynthesis demonstrate that it is glycosylated and synthesized as a higher molecular mass precursor. The mature protein contains complex N-linked oligosaccharides and the primary translation product has an apparent molecular mass approximately 5 kD larger than the deglycosylated monomer. Since translatable RNA encoding the arylsulfatase can only be detected in cells after sulfate starvation, it is likely that accumulation of the enzyme is regulated at the level of transcription, although posttranscriptional processes may also be involved.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988L864400004
View details for PubMedID 3339089
View details for Web of Science ID A1986F516300019
Antibodies raised against mixtures of phycobilisome polypeptides from the eukaryotic alga Cyanidium caldarium were used in an immunological screen to detect expression of phycobiliprotein genes in an Escherichia coli library containing segments of plastid (chloroplast, cyanelle) DNA from another eukaryotic alga, Cyanophora paradoxa. The four candidate clones obtained were mapped by restriction analysis and found to be overlapping. The clone with the smallest insert (1.4 kilobases) was partially sequenced and a coding region similar to the carboxyl terminus of the phycobiliprotein subunit beta-phycocyanin was found. The coding region for the beta-phycocyanin gene in C. paradoxa has been mapped to the small single copy region on the cyanelle genome, and its orientation has been determined. A short probe unique to a conserved chromophore binding site shared by at least two phycobiliprotein subunits has now been generated from the carboxyl terminus of the beta-phycocyanin gene. This probe may be useful in identifying specific phycobiliprotein subunit genes, beta-phycocyanin, beta-phycoerythrocyanin, and possibly beta-phycoerythrin, in other eukaryotic algae and in prokaryotic cyanobacteria.
View details for Web of Science ID A1984TA46100036
View details for PubMedID 16593484
The unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii synthesizes carbonic anhydrase in response to low levels of CO(2) (i.e., air levels of CO(2)). This enzyme, localized predominantly in the periplasmic space of the alga (or associated with the cell wall), is an important component of the machinery required for the active accumulation of inorganic carbon by C. reinhardtii and the saturation of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase at low extracellular carbon concentrations. We have begun to examine the synthesis and compartmentalization of carbonic anhydrase in C. reinhardtii. The monomeric species associated with carbonic anhydrase activity is synthesized as a precursor on 80S cytoplasmic ribosomes. This precursor can be detected immunologically in the profiles of translation products when a reticulocyte lysate, cell-free system is primed with poly(A)-RNA from either air-grown C. reinhardtii or cells shifted from growth on 5% CO(2) to air for 12 hr. It is not synthesized when the in vitro system is primed with poly(A)-RNA from CO(2)-grown algae. Since translatable RNA for the polypeptide responsible for carbonic anhydrase activity was only present in cells that experienced low levels of CO(2), the adaptation process either involves the regulation of transcription of the carbonic anhydrase gene (and perhaps other genes involved in adaptation) or the post-transcriptional processing of the messenger RNA. Furthermore, the appearance of the mature polypeptide associated with carbonic anhydrase activity in the periplasmic space of C. reinhardtii is inhibited by tunicamycin, an antibiotic that prevents core glycosylation of polypeptides on the endoplasmic reticulum. Together, these results suggest that the biosynthesis of this extracellular algal enzyme involves the translation of mRNA for the carbonic anhydrase monomer on ribosomes bound to the endoplasmic reticulum, the cleavage of a signal sequence during transport of the nascent polypeptide into the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum, and subsequent glycosylation events prior to export across the plasmalemma.
View details for Web of Science ID A1984TP31700029
View details for PubMedID 16593518
We have examined the induction of carbonic anhydrase activity in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and have identified the polypeptide responsible for this activity. This polypeptide was not synthesized when the alga was grown photoautotrophically on 5% CO(2), but its synthesis was induced under low concentrations of CO(2) (air levels of CO(2)). In CW-15, a mutant of C. reinhardtii which lacks a cell wall, between 80 and 90% of the carbonic anhydrase activity of air-adapted cells was present in the growth medium. Furthermore, between 80 and 90% of the carbonic anhydrase is released if wild type cells are treated with autolysin, a hydrolytic enzyme responsible for cell wall degradation during mating of C. reinhardtii. These data extend the work of Kimpel, Togasaki, Miyachi (1983 Plant Cell Physiol 24: 255-259) and indicate that the bulk of the carbonic anhydrase is located either in the periplasmic space or is loosely bound to the algal cell wall. The polypeptide associated with carbonic anhydrase activity has a molecular weight of approximately 37,000. Several lines of evidence indicate that this polypeptide is responsible for carbonic anhydrase activity: (a) it appears following the transfer of C. reinhardtii from growth on 5% CO(2) to growth on air levels of CO(2), (b) it is located in the periplasmic space or associated with the cell wall, like the bulk of the carbonic anhydrase activity, (c) it binds dansylamide, an inhibitor of the enzyme which fluoresces upon illumination with ultraviolet light, (d) antibodies which inhibit carbonic anhydrase activity only cross-react with this 37,000 dalton species.
View details for Web of Science ID A1984TQ81300036
View details for PubMedID 16663867
In vivo labeling of eukaryotic phycobilisomes in the presence of inhibitors of translation on 70S and 80S ribosomes demonstrates that some of the polypeptides of this light-harvesting complex are synthesized in the cytoplasm while others are synthesized in the chloroplast. The major pigmented polypeptides, the alpha and beta subunits of the biliproteins (molecular weights between 15,000 and 20,000) and the anchor protein (molecular weight about 90,000) are translated on 70S ribosomes. This suggests that these polypeptides are made within the algal chloroplast. Because the alpha and beta subunits comprise a group of closely related polypeptides, the genes encoding these polypeptides may reside in the plastid genome as a multigene family. Other prominent phycobilisome polypeptides, including a nonpigmented polypeptide that may be involved in maintaining the structural integrity of the complex, are synthesized on cytoplasmic ribosomes. Because the synthesis of phycobilisomes appears to require the expression of genes in two subcellular compartments, this system may be an excellent model for: (i) examining interaction between nuclear and plastid genomes: (ii) elucidating the molecular processes involved in the evolution of plastid genes: (iii) clarifying the events in the synthesis and assembly of macromolecular complexes in the chloroplast.
View details for Web of Science ID A1983QT04900043
View details for PubMedID 16593323