The Chlamydomonas reinhardtii proteins Ccp1 and Ccp2 are required for long-term growth, but are not necessary for efficient photosynthesis, in a low-CO2 environment

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The unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii acclimates to a low-CO2 environment by modifying the expression of a number of messages. Many of the genes that increase in abundance during acclimation to low-CO2 are under the control of the putative transcription factor Cia5. C. reinhardtii mutants null for cia5 do not express several of the known low-CO2 inducible genes and do not grow in a low-CO2 environment. Two of the genes under the control of Cia5, Ccp1 and Ccp2, encode polypeptides that are localized to the chloroplast envelope and have a high degree of similarity to members of the mitochondrial carrier family of proteins. Since their discovery, Ccp1/2 have been candidates for bicarbonate uptake proteins of the chloroplast envelope membrane. In this report, RNA interference was successful in dramatically decreasing the abundance of the mRNAs for Ccp1 and Ccp2. The abundance of the Ccp1 and Ccp2 proteins were also reduced in the RNAi strains. The RNAi strains grew slower than WT in a low-CO2 environment, but did not exhibit a mutant carbon concentrating phenotype as determined by the cells' apparent affinity for dissolved inorganic carbon. Possible explanations of this RNAi phenotype are discussed.

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Plant Molecular Biology

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