[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To address possible cell-to-cell heterogeneity in growth dynamics of isogenic cell populations of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, we developed a millifluidic drop-based device that not only allows the analysis of populations grown from single cells over periods of a week, but is also able to sort and collect drops of interest, containing viable and healthy cells, which can be used for further experimentation. In this study, we used isogenic algal cells that were first synchronized in mixotrophic growth conditions. We show that these synchronized cells, when placed in droplets and kept in mixotrophic growth conditions, exhibit mostly homogeneous growth statistics, but with two distinct subpopulations: a major population with a short doubling-time (fast-growers) and a significant subpopulation of slowly dividing cells (slow-growers). These observations suggest that algal cells from an isogenic population may be present in either of two states, a state of restricted division and a state of active division. When isogenic cells were allowed to propagate for about 1000 generations on solid agar plates, they displayed an increased heterogeneity in their growth dynamics. Although we could still identify the original populations of slow- and fast-growers, drops inoculated with a single progenitor cell now displayed a wider diversity of doubling-times. Moreover, populations dividing with the same growth-rate often reached different cell numbers in stationary phase, suggesting that the progenitor cells differed in the number of cell divisions they could undertake. We discuss possible explanations for these cell-to-cell heterogeneities in growth dynamics, such as mutations, differential aging or stochastic variations in metabolites and macromolecules yielding molecular switches, in the light of single-cell heterogeneities that have been reported among isogenic populations of other eu- and prokaryotes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: After endosymbiosis, organelles lost most of their initial genome. Moreover, expression of the few remaining genes became tightly controlled by the nucleus through trans-acting protein factors that are required for post-transcriptional expression (maturation/stability or translation) of a single (or a few) specific organelle target mRNA(s). Here, we characterize the nucleus-encoded TDA1 factor, which is specifically required for translation of the chloroplast atpA transcript that encodes subunit α of ATP synthase in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The sequence of TDA1 contains eight copies of a degenerate 38-residue motif, that we named octotrico peptide repeat (OPR), which has been previously described in a few other trans-acting factors targeted to the C. reinhardtii chloroplast. Interestingly, a proportion of the untranslated atpA transcripts are sequestered into high-density, non-polysomic, ribonucleoprotein complexes. Our results suggest that TDA1 has a dual function: (i) trapping a subset of untranslated atpA transcripts into non-polysomic complexes, and (ii) translational activation of these transcripts. We discuss these results in light of our previous observation that only a proportion of atpA transcripts are translated at any given time in the chloroplast of C. reinhardtii.
Full-text · Article · May 2011 · The Plant Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite recent elucidation of the three-dimensional structure of major photosynthetic complexes, our understanding of light energy conversion in plant chloroplasts and microalgae under physiological conditions requires exploring the dynamics of photosynthesis. The photosynthetic apparatus is a flexible molecular machine that can acclimate to metabolic and light fluctuations in a matter of seconds and minutes. On a longer time scale, changes in environmental cues trigger acclimation responses that elicit intracellular signaling between the nucleo-cytosol and chloroplast resulting in modification of the biogenesis of the photosynthetic machinery. Here we attempt to integrate well-established knowledge on the functional flexibility of light-harvesting and electron transfer processes, which has greatly benefited from genetic approaches, with data derived from the wealth of recent transcriptomic and proteomic studies of acclimation responses in photosynthetic eukaroytes.
Preview · Article · Feb 2008 · Annual Review of Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2006 · The Plant Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two mutants of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, mf1 and mf2, characterized by a marked reduction in their phosphatidylglycerol content together with a complete loss in its Delta3-trans hexadecenoic acid-containing form, also lost photosystem II (PSII) activity. Genetic analysis of crosses between mf2 and wild-type strains shows a strict cosegregation of the PSII and lipid deficiencies, while phenotypic analysis of phototrophic revertant strains suggests that one single nuclear mutation is responsible for the pleiotropic phenotype of the mutants. The nearly complete absence of PSII core is due to a severely decreased synthesis of two subunits, D1 and apoCP47, which is not due to a decrease in translation initiation. Trace amounts of PSII cores that were detected in the mutants did not associate with the light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b-binding protein antenna (LHCII). We discuss the possible role of phosphatidylglycerol in the coupled process of cotranslational insertion and assembly of PSII core subunits.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2004 · European Journal of Biochemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Initiation codon context is an important determinant of translation initiation rates in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Such sequences include the Shine- Dalgarno ribosome-binding site, as well as other motifs surrounding the initiation codon. One proposed interaction is between the base immediately preceding the initiation codon (-1 position) and the nucleotide 3' to the tRNAf(Met) anticodon, at position 37. Adenine is conserved at position 37, and a uridine at -1 has been shown in vitro to favor initiation. We have tested this model in vivo, by manipulating the chloroplast of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, where the translational machinery is prokaryotic in nature. We show that translational defects imparted by mutations at the petA -1 position can be suppressed by compensatory mutations at position 37 of an ectopically expressed tRNA(fMet). The mutant tRNAs are fully aminoacylated and do not interfere with the translation of other proteins. Although this extended base pairing is not an absolute requirement for initiation, it may convey added specificity to transcripts carrying non-standard initiation codons, and/or preserve translational fidelity under certain stress conditions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We performed a systematic investigation of the quantitative relationship between genome copy number, transcription, transcript abundance and synthesis of photosynthetic proteins in the chloroplast of the green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii grown either in mixotrophic or phototrophic conditions. The chloroplast gene copy number is lower in the latter condition and the half-life and accumulation levels of most chloroplast transcripts are significantly reduced, although the relative rates of protein synthesis remain similar. Our study shows that, in most instances, chloroplast protein synthesis is poorly sensitive to changes in gene copy number or transcript abundance in the chloroplast. Treatment with 5-fluoro-2'-deoxyuridine, that inhibits chloroplast DNA replication and decreases extensively the number of copies of the chloroplast genome, had limited effects on the abundance of most chloroplast transcripts and little if any effect on the rates of protein synthesis. When using rifampicin, that selectively inhibits chloroplast transcription, we found no direct correlation between the level of transcripts remaining in the chloroplast and the rates of chloroplast protein synthesis. For two chloroplast genes, a 90% decrease in the amount of transcript did not cause a drop in the rate of synthesis of the corresponding protein product. Overall, our results demonstrate that there is no gene dosage effect in the chloroplast and that transcript abundance is not limiting in the expression of chloroplast-encoded protein.