A low-CO2-inducible gene encoding an alanine:α-ketoglutarate aminotransferase in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Document Type


Publication Date



At low-CO2 (air) conditions, the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii acquires the ability to raise its internal inorganic carbon concentration. To study this adaptation to low CO2, cDNA clones induced under low-CO2 growth conditions were selected through differential screening. One full-length clone is 2552 bp, with an open reading frame encoding 521 amino acids. The deduced amino acid sequence shows about 50% identity with alanine:α-ketoglutarate aminotransferase (Ala AT, EC from plants and animals, and the mRNA of this clone increased 4- to 5-fold 4 h after cells were switched from high-CO2 to low-CO2 growth conditions. The expression of the enzyme and its activity also increased accordingly at low-CO2 growth conditions. To study the physiological role of Ala AT, a pyridoxal phosphate inhibitor, aminooxyacetic acid, was added at 40 μM to the growth medium when cells were beginning to adapt to low CO2. This caused a 30% decrease in the maximum photosynthetic rate in air-adapting cells 8 h later. The addition of the inhibitor also caused the cells to excrete glycolate, a photorespiratory intermediate, but did not change the apparent affinity of the cell for external CO2. These physiological studies are consistent with the assumption that Ala AT is involved in the adaptation to low-CO2 conditions.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Plant Physiology

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.