An Rh1-GFP fusion protein is in the cytoplasmic membrane of a white mutant strain of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.
ABSTRACT: The major Rhesus (Rh) protein of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, Rh1, is homologous to Rh proteins of humans. It is an integral membrane protein involved in transport of carbon dioxide. To localize a fusion of intact Rh1 to the green fluorescent protein (GFP), we used as host a white (lts1) mutant strain of C. reinhardtii, which is blocked at the first step of carotenoid biosynthesis. The lts1 mutant strain accumulated normal amounts of Rh1 heterotrophically in the dark and Rh1-GFP was at the periphery of the cell co-localized with the cytoplasmic membrane dye FM4-64. Although Rh1 carries a potential chloroplast targeting sequence at its N-terminus, Rh1-GFP was clearly not associated with the chloroplast envelope membrane. Moreover, the N-terminal half of the protein was not imported into chloroplasts in vitro and N-terminal regions of Rh1 did not direct import of the small subunit of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase (SSU). Despite caveats to this interpretation, which we discuss, current evidence indicates that Rh1 is a cytoplasmic membrane protein and that Rh1-GFP is among the first cytoplasmic membrane protein fusions to be obtained in C. reinhardtii. Although lts1 (white) mutant strains cannot be used to localize proteins within sub-compartments of the chloroplast because they lack thylakoid membranes, they should nonetheless be valuable for localizing many GFP fusions in Chlamydomonas.
Project description:Although Rhesus (Rh) proteins are best known as antigens on human red blood cells, they are not restricted to red cells or to mammals, and hence their primary biochemical functions can be studied in more tractable organisms. We previously established that the Rh1 protein of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is highly expressed in cultures bubbled with air containing high CO(2) (3%), conditions under which Chlamydomonas grows rapidly. By RNA interference, we have now obtained Chlamydomonas rh mutants (epigenetic), which are among the first in nonhuman cells. These mutants have essentially no mRNA or protein for RH1 and grow slowly at high CO(2), apparently because they fail to equilibrate this gas rapidly. They grow as well as their parental strain in air and on acetate plus air. However, during growth on acetate, rh1 mutants fail to express three proteins that are known to be down-regulated by high CO(2): periplasmic and mitochondrial carbonic anhydrases and a chloroplast envelope protein. This effect is parsimoniously rationalized if the small amounts of Rh1 protein present in acetate-grown cells of the parental strain facilitate leakage of CO(2) generated internally. Together, these results support our hypothesis that the Rh1 protein is a bidirectional channel for the gas CO(2). Our previous studies in a variety of organisms indicate that the only other members of the Rh superfamily, the ammonium/methylammonium transport proteins, are bidirectional channels for the gas NH(3). Physiologically, both types of gas channels can apparently function in acquisition of nutrients and/or waste disposal.
Project description:The function of the Rhesus (Rh) complex in the human red cell membrane has been unknown for six decades. Based on the organismal, organ, and tissue distribution of Rh proteins, and on our evidence that their only known paralogues, the ammonium and methylammonium transport proteins (also called methylammonium permeases), are gas channels for NH(3), we recently speculated that Rh proteins are biological gas channels for CO(2). Like NH(3), CO(2) differs from other gases in being readily hydrated. We have now tested our speculation by studying expression of the RH1 gene in the photosynthetic microbe Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Expression of RH1 was high for cells grown in air supplemented with 3% CO(2) or shifted from air to high CO(2) (3%) for 3 h. Conversely, RH1 expression was low for cells grown in air (0.035% CO(2)) or shifted from high CO(2) to air for 3 h. These results make viable the hypothesis that Rh1 and Rh proteins generally are gas channels for CO(2).
Project description:Rhodopsins (Rhs) are light sensors, and Rh1 is the major Rh in the Drosophila photoreceptor rhabdomere membrane. Upon photoactivation, a fraction of Rh1 is internalized and degraded, but it remains unclear how the rhabdomeric Rh1 pool is replenished and what molecular players are involved. Here, we show that Crag, a DENN protein, is a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for Rab11 that is required for the homeostasis of Rh1 upon light exposure. The absence of Crag causes a light-induced accumulation of cytoplasmic Rh1, and loss of Crag or Rab11 leads to a similar photoreceptor degeneration in adult flies. Furthermore, the defects associated with loss of Crag can be partially rescued with a constitutive active form of Rab11. We propose that upon light stimulation, Crag is required for trafficking of Rh from the trans-Golgi network to rhabdomere membranes via a Rab11-dependent vesicular transport.
Project description:High-affinity binding of a set of proteins with specificity for the 5' untranslated region (UTR) of the Chlamydomonas reinhardtii chloroplast psbA mRNA correlates with light-regulated translational activation of this message. We have isolated a cDNA encoding the main psbA RNA binding protein, RB47, and identified this protein as a member of the poly(A) binding protein family. Poly(A) binding proteins are a family of eukaryotic, cytoplasmic proteins thought to bind poly(A) tails of mRNAs and play a role in translational regulation. In vitro translation of RNA transcribed from the RB47 cDNA produces a precursor protein that is efficiently transported into the chloroplast and processed to the mature 47-kDa protein. RB47 expressed and purified from Escherichia coli binds to the psbA 5' UTR with similar specificity and affinity as RB47 isolated from C. reinhardtii chloroplasts. The identification of a normally cytoplasmic translation factor in the chloroplast suggests that the prokaryotic-like chloroplast translation machinery utilizes a eukaryotic-like initiation factor to regulate the translation of a key chloroplast mRNA. These data also suggest that poly(A) binding proteins may play a wider role in translation regulation than previously appreciated.
Project description:Evidence in several microorganisms indicates that Amt proteins are gas channels for NH(3) and CH(3)NH(2), and this has been confirmed structurally. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has at least four AMT genes, the most reported for a microorganism. Under nitrogen-limiting conditions all AMT genes are transcribed and Chlamydomonas is sensitive to methylammonium toxicity. All 16 spontaneous methylammonium-resistant mutants that we analyzed had defects in accumulation of [(14)C]methylammonium. Genetic crosses indicated that 12 had lesions in a single locus, whereas two each had lesions in other loci. Lesions in different loci were correlated with different degrees of defect in [(14)C]methylammonium uptake. One mutant in the largest class had an insert in the AMT4 gene, and the insert cosegregated with methylammonium resistance in genetic crosses. The other 11 strains in this class also had amt4 lesions, which we characterized at the molecular level. Properties of the amt4 mutants were clearly different from those of rh1 RNAi lines. They indicated that the physiological substrates for Amt and Rh proteins, the only two members of their protein superfamily, are NH(3) and CO(2), respectively.
Project description:In response to proteotoxic stress, chloroplasts communicate with the nuclear gene expression system through a chloroplast unfolded protein response (cpUPR). We isolated Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutants that disrupt cpUPR signaling and identified a gene encoding a previously uncharacterized cytoplasmic protein kinase, termed Mars1-for mutant affected in chloroplast-to-nucleus retrograde signaling-as the first known component in cpUPR signal transmission. Lack of cpUPR induction in MARS1 mutant cells impaired their ability to cope with chloroplast stress, including exposure to excessive light. Conversely, transgenic activation of cpUPR signaling conferred an advantage to cells undergoing photooxidative stress. Our results indicate that the cpUPR mitigates chloroplast photodamage and that manipulation of this pathway is a potential avenue for engineering photosynthetic organisms with increased tolerance to chloroplast stress.
Project description:The supply of inorganic carbon (Ci) at the site of fixation by Rubisco is a key parameter for efficient CO2 fixation in aquatic organisms including the green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cells, when grown on limiting CO2, have a CO2-concentrating mechanism (CCM) that functions to concentrate CO2 at the site of Rubisco. Proteins thought to be involved in inorganic carbon uptake have been identified and localized to the plasma membrane or chloroplast envelope. However, current CCM models suggest that additional molecular components are involved in Ci uptake. In this study, the gene Cia8 was identified in an insertional mutagenesis screen and characterized. The protein encoded by Cia8 belongs to the sodium bile acid symporter subfamily. Transcript levels for this gene were significantly up-regulated when the cells were grown on low CO2. The cia8 mutant exhibited reduced growth and reduced affinity for Ci when grown in limiting CO2 conditions. Prediction programs localize this protein to the chloroplast. Ci uptake and the photosynthetic rate, particularly at high external pH, were reduced in the mutant. The results are consistent with the model that CIA8 is involved in Ci uptake in C. reinhardtii.
Project description:The objective of this research was to establish a chloroplast transformation technique for Platymonas (Tetraselmis) subcordiformis. Employing the gfp gene as a reporter and the bar gene as a selectable marker, transformation vectors of P. subcordiformis chloroplast were constructed with endogenous fragments rrn16S-trnI (left) and trnA-rrn23S (right) as a recombination site of the chloroplast genome. The plasmids were transferred into P. subcordiformis via particle bombardment. Confocal laser scanning microscopy indicated that the green fluorescence protein was localized in the chloroplast of P. subcordiformis, confirming the activity of the Chlamydomonas reinhardtii promoter. Cells transformed with the bar gene were selected using the herbicide Basta. Resistant colonies were analyzed by PCR and Southern blotting, and the results indicated that the bar gene was successfully integrated into the chloroplast genome via homologous recombination. The technique will improve genetic engineering of this alga.
Project description:Monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and other green algae contains hexadeca-4,7,10,13-tetraenoic acid (16:4) in the glycerol sn-2 position. While many genes necessary for the introduction of acyl chain double bonds have been functionally characterized, the ?4-desaturase remained unknown. Using a phylogenetic comparison, a candidate gene encoding the MGDG-specific ?4-desaturase from Chlamydomonas (Cr?4FAD) was identified. Cr?4FAD shows all characteristic features of a membrane-bound desaturase, including three histidine boxes and a transit peptide for chloroplast targeting. But it also has an N-terminal cytochrome b(5) domain, distinguishing it from other known plastid desaturases. Cytochrome b(5) is the primary electron donor for endoplasmic reticulum (ER) desaturases and is often fused to the desaturase domain in desaturases modifying the carboxyl end of the acyl group. Difference absorbance spectra of the recombinant cytochrome b(5) domain of Cr?4FAD showed that it is functional in vitro. Green fluorescent protein fusions of Cr?4FAD localized to the plastid envelope in Chlamydomonas. Interestingly, overproduction of Cr?4FAD in Chlamydomonas not only increased levels of 16:4 acyl groups in cell extracts but specifically increased the total amount of MGDG. Vice versa, the amount of MGDG was lowered in lines with reduced levels of Cr?4FAD. These data suggest a link between MGDG molecular species composition and galactolipid abundance in the alga, as well as a specific function for this fatty acid in MGDG.
Project description:Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Chlamydomonas) strains that are toxic to mosquito larvae because they express chloroplast transgenes that are based on the mosquitocidal proteins of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) could be very useful in mosquito control. Chlamydomonas has several advantages for this approach, including genetic controls not generally available with industrial algae. The Bti toxin is produced by sporulating bacteria and has been used for mosquito control for >30 years without creating highly resistant mosquito populations. The suite of toxins is four main proteins: three Cry proteins and the cytotoxic Cyt1Aa (27 kDa). Cyt1Aa is not very toxic to mosquitoes by itself, but it prevents the development of resistance. The production of Cyt1Aa in other microbes, however, has been challenging due to its affinity for certain membrane phospholipids. Here we report on the production of recombinant Cyt1Aa (rCyt1A) in the chloroplast of photosynthetic Chlamydomonas at levels of at least 0.3% total protein. Live cell bioassays demonstrated toxicity of the rCyt1Aa Chlamydomonas to larvae of Aedes aegypti. We also expressed the chloroplast cyt1Aa gene in a wild-type Chlamydomonas strain (21 gr) that can grow on nitrate. These results have implications for developing a Chlamydomonas strain that will be toxic to mosquito larvae but will not induce strongly resistant populations.