Pyrenoid loss impairs carbon-concentrating mechanism induction and alters primary metabolism in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

14 May 2018

Carbon-concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) enable efficient photosynthesis and growth in CO2-limiting environments, and in eukaryotic microalgae localisation of Rubisco to a microcompartment called the pyrenoid is key. In the model green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, Rubisco preferentially relocalises to the pyrenoid during CCM induction and pyrenoid-less mutants lack a functioning CCM and grow very poorly at low CO2. The aim of this study was to investigate the CO2 response of pyrenoid-positive (pyr+) and pyrenoid-negative (pyr-) mutant strains to determine the effect of pyrenoid absence on CCM induction and gene expression. Shotgun proteomic analysis of low-CO2-adapted strains showed reduced accumulation of some CCM-related proteins, suggesting that pyr- has limited capacity to respond to low-CO2 conditions. Comparisons between gene transcription and protein expression revealed potential regulatory interactions, since Rubisco protein linker (EPYC1) protein did not accumulate in pyr- despite increased transcription, while elements of the LCIB/LCIC complex were also differentially expressed. Furthermore, pyr- showed altered abundance of a number of proteins involved in primary metabolism, perhaps due to the failure to adapt to low CO2. This work highlights two-way regulation between CCM induction and pyrenoid formation, and provides novel candidates for future studies of pyrenoid assembly and CCM function.