Functional analysis of phototropin in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

by Lu, Yinghong

Abstract (Summary)
Abstract In higher plants, phototropin is in charge of phototropism (Liscum, 2002), chloroplast relocation (Wada et al., 2003) and stomatal opening (Schroeder et al., 2001). All its functions are connected with plants' modulation to the surrounding light conditions so that plants can make the best use of light for photosynthesis and dodge harmful strong light. In C.reinhardtii, all its reported functions are connected to the sexual life of this green alga, i.e. gametogenesis, maintenance of gamete competence and zygote germination. This PhD work started at the end of 2001 and went on in parallel with Huang's work. Different from Huang's observation that phototropin was insoluble (Huang et al., 2002), it was found that phototropin existed not only as a membrane associated protein, a portion of phototropin always remained soluble. Phototropin levels and distributions were different between vegetative cells grown in strong light or in darkness. Light was thought to be the essential factor that caused this difference. But, different strains grown vegetatively under same light conditions showed that the levels of phototropin and its distributions varied. This suggested the existence of other factors in the determination of its level and distribution. A C-terminus degradation product of phototropin was found as a stable component in C. reinhardtii. Light was found as a reason that caused the degradation. However, short time of illumination with strong light (up to 2 h) did not evoke the degradation machinery. In light gradient experiment, long time illumination (~48h) with different light intensity showed a clear degradation pattern. To study phototropin involvement in Chlamydomonas sexual life, a Phot1- strain was needed. An RNAi phototropin construct was made. It managed to reduce the level of phototropin in strain cw15 arg- A down to 10% of its original level. However, the construct did not work properly in other strains. Only one transformant of strain CC32pab1mt(+) with a reduction of the phototropin level to around 15% of the original level was found. Under different growth conditions, the silencing efficiency varied. The best silencing result appeared when cells were grown under low light conditions. A new mating assay was established in this work, which has many benefits over the traditional way of studying zygote germination. The conclusion was drawn from this assay that light was the primary factor that determines zygote germination; under moderate light conditions, zygotes with higher phototropin level would germinate earlier; strong illumination could compensate the difference caused by the low phototropin level in zygote germination. For phototropin function analysis in vitro, a Chlamydomonas strain that over-expressed phototropin was in need. To prove that the suspected degradation product originated from the phototropin gene and to purify phototropin for crystallization, trials to express C.r. phototropin cDNA in different organisms were also made. Phototropin was expressed in Xenopus oocytes and diatom in this work. The expression pattern confirmed that both the full-length and the suspected degradation product did originate from the same phototropin gene. It was also found that the degradation was independent on phototropin activation state by expressing C.r. Phot1 (C57S, C250S) in oocytes. For the first time, recombinant phototropin got expressed in Chlamydomonas by fusion expression strategy. The fusion product was purified and the identity was confirmed by Mass Spectrometry analysis. One strain which expressed only a C-terminus truncation version of the fusion product was found. Compared with the full length product, this mutant had better solubility and was easier to be purified. Large scale of purification should be performed to obtain enough material for crystallographic studies. Tandem affinity purification (TAP) tag should also be performed in Chlamydomonas proteomic studies about phototropin.
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Bibliographical Information:


School:Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

School Location:Germany

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:Phototropin Blue light receptor chlamydomonas


Date of Publication:09/08/2006

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