Characterization of Chlamydomonas mutants defective in the H subunit of Mg-chelatase
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Two chlorophyll-deficient mutants of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, chl1 and brs-1, are light sensitive and, when grown heterotrophically in the dark, accumulate protoporphyrin IX and exhibit yellow/orange pigmentation. The lesions in both mutants were mapped to the gene (CHLH) for the plastid-localized H subunit of the heterotrimeric magnesium chelatase that catalyzes the insertion of magnesium into protoporphyrin IX. The genetic defects in the mutants could be assigned to +1 frameshift mutations in exon 9 (chl1) and exon 10 (brs-1) of the CHLH gene. In both mutants, the H subunit of magnesium chelatase was undetectable, but, as shown for chl1, the steady-state levels of the I and D subunits were unaltered in comparison to wild type. The CHLH gene exhibits marked light inducibility: levels of both the mRNA and the protein product are strongly increased when cultures are shifted from from the dark into the light, suggesting that this protein may play a crucial role in the light regulation of chlorophyll biosynthesis.
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