, Volume 198, Issue 2, pp 263–270 | Cite as

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutants without ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase lack a detectable pyrenoid

  • Mamta Rawat
  • Margaret C. Henk
  • Lara L. Lavigne
  • James V. Moroney


The pyrenoid is a prominent proteinaceous structure found in the stroma of the chloroplast in unicellular eukaryotic algae, most multicellular algae, and some hornworts. The most prominent protein in the pyrenoid is the enzyme ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylaseoxygenase (Rubisco). We have investigated whether the pyrenoid is present in strains of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Dangeard containing mutations in the chloroplast rbcL gene. The mutants examined include a nonsense mutant lacking Rubisco, 18-7G, a missense mutant with an inactive Rubisco, 10-6C, and a temperature-sensitive mutant, 68-4PP, which contains Rubisco at room temperature but lacks the protein at 35°C. Normally, each C. reinhardtii cell has one chloroplast containing one large pyrenoid. In the nonsense mutant and 68-4PP at the non-permissive temperature no pyrenoid was observed. In the other strains, even those with an inactive Rubisco, the pyrenoid appeared normal. These results indicate that the presence of the Rubisco protein is necessary for the formation of a normal pyrenoid in C. reinhardtii. It is also clear that the Rubisco does not have to be active for normal pyrenoid formation, as strains 10-C and F-60 had morphologically normal pyrenoids.

Key words

Chlamydomonas Photosynthesis Pyrenoid Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase 





ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase


gene coding the large subunit of Rubisco


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mamta Rawat
    • 1
  • Margaret C. Henk
    • 2
  • Lara L. Lavigne
    • 3
  • James V. Moroney
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Plant BiologyLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologyLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiochemistryLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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