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Truncated Photosystem Chlorophyll Antenna Size in the Green Microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii upon Deletion of the TLA3-CpSRP43 Gene


The truncated light-harvesting antenna size3 (tla3) DNA insertional transformant of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a chlorophyll-deficient mutant with a lighter green phenotype, a lower chlorophyll (Chl) per cell content, and higher Chl a/b ratio than corresponding wild-type strains. Functional analyses revealed a higher intensity for the saturation of photosynthesis and greater light-saturated photosynthetic activity in the tla3 mutant than in the wild type and a Chl antenna size of the photosystems that was only about 40% of that in the wild type. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and western-blot analyses showed that the tla3 strain was deficient in the Chl a/b light-harvesting complex. Molecular and genetic analyses revealed a single plasmid insertion in chromosome 4 of the tla3 nuclear genome, causing deletion of predicted gene g5047 and plasmid insertion within the fourth intron of downstream-predicted gene g5046. Complementation studies defined that gene g5047 alone was necessary and sufficient to rescue the tla3 mutation. Gene g5047 encodes a C. reinhardtii homolog of the chloroplast-localized SRP43 signal recognition particle, whose occurrence and function in green microalgae has not hitherto been investigated. Biochemical analysis showed that the nucleus-encoded and chloroplast-localized CrCpSRP43 protein specifically operates in the assembly of the peripheral components of the Chl a/b light-harvesting antenna. This work demonstrates that cpsrp43 deletion in green microalgae can be employed to generate tla mutants with a substantially diminished Chl antenna size. The latter exhibit improved solar energy conversion efficiency and photosynthetic productivity under mass culture and bright sunlight conditions.

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