Project description:Small (s)RNAs play crucial roles in the regulation of gene expression and genome stability across eukaryotes where they direct epigenetic modifications, post-transcriptional gene silencing, and defense against both endogenous and exogenous viruses. It is known that Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a well-studied unicellular green algae species, possesses sRNA-based mechanisms that are distinct from those of land plants. However, definition of sRNA loci and further systematic classification is not yet available for this or any other algae. Here, using data-driven machine learning approaches including Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) and clustering, we have generated a comprehensively annotated and classified sRNA locus map for C. reinhardtii. This map shows some common characteristics with higher plants and animals, but it also reveals distinct features. These results are consistent with the idea that there was diversification in sRNA mechanisms after the evolutionary divergence of algae from higher plant lineages.
Project description:In most eukaryotes, subtelomeres are dynamic genomic regions populated by multi-copy sequences of different origins, which can promote segmental duplications and chromosomal rearrangements. However, their repetitive nature has complicated the efforts to sequence them, analyse their structure and infer how they evolved. Here, we use recent genome assemblies of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii based on long-read sequencing to comprehensively describe the subtelomere architecture of the 17 chromosomes of this model unicellular green alga. We identify three main repeated elements present at subtelomeres, which we call Sultan, Subtile and Suber, alongside three chromosome extremities with ribosomal DNA as the only identified component of their subtelomeres. The most common architecture, present in 27 out of 34 subtelomeres, is a heterochromatic array of Sultan elements adjacent to the telomere, followed by a transcribed Spacer sequence, a G-rich microsatellite and transposable elements. Sequence similarity analyses suggest that Sultan elements underwent segmental duplications within each subtelomere and rearranged between subtelomeres at a much lower frequency. Analysis of other green algae reveals species-specific repeated elements that are shared across subtelomeres, with an overall organization similar to C. reinhardtii. This work uncovers the complexity and evolution of subtelomere architecture in green algae.
Project description:The unicellular photosynthetic organism, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, represents a powerful model to study mitochondrial gene expression. Here, we show that the 5'- and 3'-extremities of the eight Chlamydomonas mitochondrial mRNAs present two unusual characteristics. First, all mRNAs start primarily at the AUG initiation codon of the coding sequence which is often marked by a cluster of small RNAs. Second, unusual tails are added post-transcriptionally at the 3'-extremity of all mRNAs. The nucleotide composition of the tails is distinct from that described in any other systems and can be partitioned between A/U-rich tails, predominantly composed of Adenosine and Uridine, and C-rich tails composed mostly of Cytidine. Based on 3' RACE experiments, 22% of mRNAs present C-rich tails, some of them composed of up to 20 consecutive Cs. Polycytidylation is specific to mitochondria and occurs primarily on mRNAs. This unprecedented post-transcriptional modification seems to be a specific feature of the Chlorophyceae class of green algae and points out the existence of novel strategies in mitochondrial gene expression.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Land plants respond to drought and salinity by employing multitude of sophisticated mechanisms with physiological and developmental consequences. Abscisic acid-mediated signaling pathways have evolved as land plant ancestors explored their habitats toward terrestrial dry area, and now play major roles in hyperosmotic stress responses in flowering plants. Green algae living in fresh water habitat do not possess abscisic acid signaling pathways but need to cope with increasing salt concentrations or high osmolarity when challenged with adverse aquatic environment. Hyperosmotic stress responses in green algae are largely unexplored.<h4>Results</h4>In this study, we characterized hyperosmotic stress-induced cytoskeletal responses in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a fresh water green algae. The Chlamydomonas PROPYZAMIDE-HYPERSENSITEVE 1 (PHS1) tubulin kinase quickly and transiently phosphorylated a large proportion of cellular α-tubulin at Thr349 in G1 phase and during mitosis, which resulted in transient disassembly of microtubules, when challenged with > 0.2 M sorbitol or > 0.1 M NaCl. By using phs1 loss-of-function algal mutant cells, we demonstrated that transient microtubule destabilization by sorbitol did not affect cell growth in G1 phase but delayed mitotic cell cycle progression. Genome sequence analyses indicate that PHS1 genes evolved in ancestors of the Chlorophyta. Interestingly, PHS1 genes are present in all sequenced genomes of freshwater Chlorophyta green algae (including Chlamydomonas) but are absent in some marine algae of this phylum.<h4>Conclusion</h4>PHS1-mediated tubulin phosphorylation was found to be partly responsible for the efficient stress-responsive mitotic delay in Chlamydomonas cells. Ancient hyperosmotic stress-triggered cytoskeletal remodeling responses thus emerged when the PHS1 tubulin kinase gene evolved in freshwater green algae.
Project description:A screen was recently developed to study the mobilization of starch in the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. This screen relies on starch synthesis accumulation during nitrogen starvation followed by the supply of nitrogen and the switch to darkness. Hence multiple regulatory networks including those of nutrient starvation, cell cycle control and light to dark transitions are likely to impact the recovery of mutant candidates. In this paper we monitor the specificity of this mutant screen by characterizing the nature of the genes disrupted in the selected mutants. We show that one third of the mutants consisted of strains mutated in genes previously reported to be of paramount importance in starch catabolism such as those encoding ?-amylases, the maltose export protein, and branching enzyme I. The other mutants were defective for previously uncharacterized functions some of which are likely to define novel proteins affecting starch mobilization in green algae.
Project description:Small RNA-guided gene silencing is an evolutionarily conserved process that operates by a variety of molecular mechanisms. In multicellular eukaryotes, the core components of RNA-mediated silencing have significantly expanded and diversified, resulting in partly distinct pathways for the epigenetic control of gene expression and genomic parasites. In contrast, many unicellular organisms with small nuclear genomes seem to have lost entirely the RNA-silencing machinery or have retained only a basic set of components. We report here that Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a unicellular eukaryote with a relatively large nuclear genome, has undergone extensive duplication of Dicer and Argonaute polypeptides after the divergence of the green algae and land plant lineages. Chlamydomonas encodes three Dicers and three Argonautes with DICER-LIKE1 (DCL1) and ARGONAUTE1 being more divergent than the other paralogs. Interestingly, DCL1 is uniquely involved in the post-transcriptional silencing of retrotransposons such as TOC1. Moreover, on the basis of the subcellular distribution of TOC1 small RNAs and target transcripts, this pathway most likely operates in the nucleus. However, Chlamydomonas also relies on a DCL1-independent, transcriptional silencing mechanism(s) for the maintenance of transposon repression. Our results suggest that multiple, partly redundant epigenetic processes are involved in preventing transposon mobilization in this green alga.
Project description:Green algae have a great potential as biofactories for the production of proteins. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a representative of eukaryotic microalgae, has been extensively used as a model organism to study light-induced gene expression, chloroplast biogenesis, photosynthesis, light perception, cell-cell recognition, and cell cycle control. However, little is known about the glycosylation machinery and N-linked glycan structures of green algae. In this study, we performed mass spectrometry analysis of N-linked oligosaccharides released from total extracts of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and demonstrated that C. reinhardtii algae possess glycoproteins with mammalian-like sialylated N-linked oligosaccharides. These findings suggest that C. reinhardtii may be an attractive system for expression of target proteins.
Project description:ADP-glucose synthesis through ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase defines the major rate-controlling step of storage polysaccharide synthesis in both bacteria and plants. We have isolated mutant strains defective in the STA6 locus of the monocellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii that fail to accumulate starch and lack ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase activity. We show that this locus encodes a 514-amino-acid polypeptide corresponding to a mature 50-kDa protein with homology to vascular plant ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase small-subunit sequences. This gene segregates independently from the previously characterized STA1 locus that encodes the large 53-kDa subunit of the same heterotetramer enzyme. Because STA1 locus mutants have retained an AGPase but exhibit lower sensitivity to 3-phosphoglyceric acid activation, we suggest that the small and large subunits of the enzyme define, respectively, the catalytic and regulatory subunits of AGPase in unicellular green algae. We provide preliminary evidence that both the small-subunit mRNA abundance and enzyme activity, and therefore also starch metabolism, may be controlled by the circadian clock.
Project description:RNA populations in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Keywords: Highly parallel pyrosequencing Small RNAs were prepared from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii total extracts,ligated to a 3' adaptor and a 5' acceptor sequentially, and then RT-PCR amplified. PCR products were reamplified using a pair of 454 cloning primers and provided to 454 Life Sciences (Branford, CT) for sequencing. For technical details, see Tao Zhao, Guanglin Li, Shijun Mi, Shan Li, Gregory J. Hannon, Xiu-Jie Wang, and Yijun Qi. 2007. A Complex System of Small RNAs in the Unicellular Green Alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Genes & Development
Project description:The most motile phototrophic organisms exhibit photo-induced behavioral responses (photobehavior) to inhabit better light conditions for photosynthesis. The unicellular green alga <i>Chlamydomonas reinhardtii</i> is an excellent model organism to study photobehavior. Several years ago, we found that <i>C. reinhardtii</i> cells reverse their phototactic signs (i.e., positive and negative phototaxis) depending on the amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulated in the cell. However, its molecular mechanism is unclear. In this study, we isolated seven mutants showing positive phototaxis, even after the induction of negative phototaxis (<i>ap1~7</i>: always positive) to understand the ROS-dependent regulatory mechanism for the phototactic sign. We found no common feature in the mutants regarding their growth, high-light tolerance, and photosynthetic phenotypes. Interestingly, five of them grew faster than the wild type. These data suggest that the ROS-dependent regulation of the phototactic sign is not a single pathway and is affected by various cellular factors. Additionally, the isolation and analyses of mutants with defects in phototactic-sign regulation may provide clues for their application to the efficient cultivation of algae.