Expression of a low CO2-inducible protein, LCI1, increases inorganic carbon uptake in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

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Aquatic photosynthetic organisms can modulate their photosynthesis to acclimate to CO2-limiting stress by inducing a carbon-concentrating mechanism (CCM) that includes carbonic anhydrases and inorganic carbon (Ci) transporters. However, to date, Ci-specific transporters have not been well characterized in eukaryotic algae. Previously, a Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutant (lcr1) was identified that was missing a Myb transcription factor. This mutant had reduced light-dependent CO2 gas exchange (LCE) activity when grown under CO2-limiting conditions and did not induce the CAH1 gene encoding a periplasmic carbonic anhydrase, as well as two as yet uncharacterized genes, LCI1 and LCI6. In this study, LCI1 was placed under the control of the nitrate reductase promoter, allowing for the induction of LCI1 expression by nitrate in the absence of other CCM components. When the expression of LCI1 was induced in the lcr1 mutant under CO2-enriched conditions, the cells showed an increase in LCE activity, internal Ci accumulation, and photosynthetic affinity for Ci. From experiments using indirect immunofluorescence, LCI1-green fluorescent protein fusions, and cell fractionation procedures, it appears that LCI1 is mainly localized to the plasma membrane. These results provide strong evidence that LCI1 may contribute to the CCM as a component of the Ci transport machinery in the plasma membrane. © 2010 American Society of Plant Biologists.

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Plant Cell

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