Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 375–385 | Cite as

Microarray Profiling of Plastid Gene Expression in a Unicellular Red Alga, Cyanidioschyzon merolae

  • Ayumi Minoda
  • Kirina Nagasawa
  • Mitsumasa Hanaoka
  • Makoto Horiuchi
  • Hideo Takahashi
  • Kan Tanaka


Plastid genomes of red algae contain more genes than those of green plant lineages, and it is of special interest that four transcription factors derived from ancestral cyanobacteria are encoded therein. However, little is known about transcriptional regulation of the red algal plastid genome. In this study, we constructed a red algal plastid DNA microarray of Cyanidioschyzon merolae covering almost all protein coding genes, and found that plastid genes are differentially activated by illumination. Run-on transcription assays using isolated plastids confirmed that activation takes place at the transcriptional level. In bacteria and plants, sigma factors determine the genes that are to be transcribed, and four plastid sigma factors (Cm_SIG1–4) encoded in the nuclear genome of C. merolae may be responsible for differential gene expression of the plastid genome. We found that transcripts for all Cm_SIG genes accumulated transiently after a shift from dark to light, whereas only the Cm_SIG2 transcript was increased after a shift from low to high light, suggesting that Cm_SIG2 is a sigma factor that responds to high light. Phylogenetic analysis of plastid sigma factors suggested that sigma factors of red and green algal plastids and the group 1 sigma factors of cyanobacteria form a monophyletic group.

Key words

Cyanidioschyzon merolae microarray photosynthesis plastid red algae sigma factor 



Open reading frame


Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain-reaction


Hypothetical chloroplast open reading frame


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ayumi Minoda
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kirina Nagasawa
    • 1
  • Mitsumasa Hanaoka
    • 1
  • Makoto Horiuchi
    • 1
  • Hideo Takahashi
    • 1
  • Kan Tanaka
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Molecular and Cellular BiosciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Plant BiologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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