, Volume 187, Issue 2, pp 275-281

Role of carbonic anhydrase in photosynthesis and inorganic-carbon assimilation in the red alga Gracilaria tenuistipitata

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The mechanism of inorganic-carbon (Ci) accumulation in the red seaweed Gracilaria tenuistipitata Zhang et Xia has been investigated. Extracellular and intracellular carbonic-anhydrase (CA) activities have been detected. Photosynthetic O2 evolution in thalli and protoplasts of G. tenuistipitata were higher at pH 6.5 than at pH 8.6, where HCO 3 is the predominant form of Ci. Dextran-bound sulfonamide (DBS), a specific inhibitor of extracellular CA, reduced photosynthetic O2 evolution at pH 8.6 and did not have any effect at pH 6.5. After inhibition with DBS, O2 evolution was similar to the rate that could be supported by CO2 from spontaneous dehydration of HCO 3 . The rate of photosynthetic alkalization of the surrounding medium by the algal thallus was dependent on the concentration of Ci and inhibited by DBS. We suggest that the general form of Ci that enters through the plasma membrane of G. tenuistipitata is CO2. Bicarbonate is utilized mainly by an indirect mechanism after dehydration to CO2, and this mechanism involves extracellular CA.

This research was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Bonn) as a programme of the “Sonderforschungsbereich 251 der Universität Würzburg” and by the “Fonds der Chemischen Industrie” (Frankfurt). Joint work in Würzburg was possible thanks to travel grants from the Chancellor of the University of Würzburg, Professor R. Günther, from the Australian National University under the auspices of its Overseas Studies Programme, and from the New Zealand — Federal Republic of Germany Scientific and Technological Exchange Programme, which are gratefully acknowledged. We thank Dr. A. Meyer and Ms. E. Kilian for untiringly conducting part of the experimental work, Ms. G. Theumer and Ms. D. Faltenbacher-Werner for their valuable assistance, and Mr. H. Walz (Walz Company, Effeltrich, FRG) for his skilled help with the calibration of our gas-exchange system for measurements with helox. The Department of Conservation, New Zealand, is thanked for permission to collect lichens.