, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 27-38

Characterization and transcript analysis of the major phycobiliprotein subunit genes from Aglaothamnion neglectum (Rhodophyta)

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The genes encoding the α and β 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 α and β subunits for each phycobiliprotein are contiguous. The β subunit gene is 5′ for both the phycocyanin and phycoerythrin operons, while the α 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.