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Plant Physiol. Apr 1978; 61(4): 556–560.
PMCID: PMC1091916

Carrier-mediated Uptake of Arginine and Urea by Chlamydomonas reinhardtii


Chlamydomonas reinhardtii possesses a high affinity, highly specific carrier involved in uptake of exogenous arginine. Carrier-mediated uptake of other amino acids cannot be detected, even in cultures maintained on amino acids as a nitrogen source or starved for nitrogen. This fact may contribute to the difficulty of isolating strains auxotrophic for amino acids other than arginine; conventional selection media may not supply adequate quantities of amino acids to permit growth of auxotrophs. A urea carrier is also present in C. reinhardtii but is readily distinguished from the arginine carrier on the basis of kinetic properties and sensitivity to a range of structural analogs. Ammonia appears to play a major role in regulating (depressing) activity of the arginine uptake system. Activity of the urea uptake system is elevated in nitrogen-starved cultures and elevated even further in the presence of urea or arginine. Extensive, independent fluctuations in the two uptake systems observed in semisynchronous cultures suggest that both are subject to modulation by a complex set of interacting endogenous and exogenous factors.

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