- The atypical trichromatic cyanobacterial phytochrome NpTP1 from Nostoc punctiforme ATCC 29133 is a linear tetrapyrrole (bilin)-binding photoreceptor protein that possesses tandem-cysteine residues responsible for shifting its light-sensing maximum to the violet spectral region. Using bioinformatics and phylogenetic analyses, here we established that tandem-cysteine cyanobacterial phytochromes (TCCPs) compose a well-supported monophyletic phytochrome lineage distinct from prototypical red/far-red cyanobacterial phytochromes.
- Phycobilins are light-harvesting pigments of cyanobacteria, red algae, and cryptophytes. The biosynthesis of phycoerythrobilin (PEB) is catalyzed by the subsequent action of two ferredoxin-dependent bilin reductases (FDBRs). Although 15,16-dihydrobiliverdin (DHBV):ferredoxin oxidoreductase (PebA) catalyzes the two-electron reduction of biliverdin IXα to 15,16-DHBV, PEB:ferredoxin oxidoreductase (PebB) reduces this intermediate further to PEB. Interestingly, marine viruses encode the FDBR PebS combining both activities within one enzyme.
- Exposing cells to excess metal concentrations well beyond the cellular quota is a powerful tool for understanding the molecular mechanisms of metal homeostasis. Such improved understanding may enable bioengineering of organisms with improved nutrition and bioremediation capacity. We report here that Chlamydomonas reinhardtii can accumulate manganese (Mn) in proportion to extracellular supply, up to 30-fold greater than its typical quota and with remarkable tolerance. As visualized by X-ray fluorescence microscopy and nanoscale secondary ion MS (nanoSIMS), Mn largely co-localizes with phosphorus (P) and calcium (Ca), consistent with the Mn-accumulating site being an acidic vacuole, known as the acidocalcisome.
- In photosynthetic organisms, photosystem II (PSII) is a large membrane protein complex, consisting of a pair of core complexes surrounded by an array of variable numbers of light-harvesting complex (LHC) II proteins. Previously reported structures of the PSII–LHCII supercomplex of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii exhibit significant structural heterogeneity, but recently improved purification methods employing ionic amphipol A8-35 have enhanced supercomplex stability, providing opportunities for determining a more intact structure.
- Photosynthetic organisms often experience extreme light conditions that can cause hyper-reduction of the chloroplast electron transport chain, resulting in oxidative damage. Accumulating evidence suggests that mitochondrial respiration and chloroplast photosynthesis are coupled when cells are absorbing high levels of excitation energy. This coupling helps protect the cells from hyper-reduction of photosynthetic electron carriers and diminishes the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). To examine this cooperative protection, here we characterized Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutants lacking the mitochondrial alternative terminal respiratory oxidases, CrAOX1 and CrAOX2.
- In green algae, light-harvesting complex stress-related 3 (LHCSR3) is responsible for the pH-dependent dissipation of absorbed light energy, a function vital for survival under high-light conditions. LHCSR3 binds the photosystem II and light-harvesting complex II (PSII–LHCII) supercomplex and transforms it into an energy-dissipative form under acidic conditions, but the molecular mechanism remains unclear. Here we show that in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, LHCSR3 modulates the excitation energy flow and dissipates the excitation energy within the light-harvesting complexes of the PSII supercomplex.
- Apiose is a branched monosaccharide that is present in the cell wall pectic polysaccharides rhamnogalacturonan II and apiogalacturonan and in numerous plant secondary metabolites. These apiose-containing glycans are synthesized using UDP-apiose as the donor. UDP-apiose (UDP-Api) together with UDP-xylose is formed from UDP-glucuronic acid (UDP-GlcA) by UDP-Api synthase (UAS). It was hypothesized that the ability to form Api distinguishes vascular plants from the avascular plants and green algae. UAS from several dicotyledonous plants has been characterized; however, it is not known if avascular plants or green algae produce this enzyme.
- Cryptochromes constitute a group of flavin-binding blue light receptors in bacteria, fungi, plants, and insects. Recently, the response of cryptochromes to light was extended to nearly the entire visible spectral region on the basis of the activity of the animal-like cryptochrome aCRY in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. This finding was explained by the absorption of red light by the flavin neutral radical as the dark state of the receptor, which then forms the anionic fully reduced state.