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Plant Physiol. Oct 1997; 115(2): 773–781.
PMCID: PMC158537

Photoregulation of Chloroplast Gene Transcription in the Chromophytic Alga Heterosigma carterae.

Abstract

Light acts as a complex regulator of cellular development and gene expression in photoautotrophs. Although light signals are highly effective in controlling cellular division and chloroplast biogenesis in the toxic marine alga Heterosigma carterae, their influence on gene expression has not been well characterized. To address this need cultures of H. carterae synchronized by an alternating light-dark regime were sampled through 12 h of light and 12 h of dark to characterize cell division, chloroplast complement, and chloroplast RNA abundance. These studies have identified a unimodal pattern of chloroplast transcriptional activity for a suite of cellular and photosynthetic genes. To determine the alga's response to a change in photoperiod, 12-h light/12-h dark-synchronized cultures were transferred to constant light and then periodically sampled. Although cellular and chloroplast division cycles remained synchronized in constant conditions for 24 h, the transcriptional apparatus responded by increasing ctRNA abundance within 45 min of the change in photoperiod. However, the ability of the alga to mount this rapid transcriptional response was limited to the first 2 h of the putative dark period. Thus, the chloroplast transcriptional apparatus of H. carterae may initiate a rapid, temporally gated response to a change in photoperiod that is independent of ongoing light-entrained cellular and chloroplast division cycles.

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Selected References

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