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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jul 5;108(27):11280-4. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100592108. Epub 2011 Jun 20.

Reduction-oxidation poise regulates the sign of phototaxis in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Tokyo 113-0033 Japan. wakaba@biol.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp


In many phototrophic microorganisms and plants, chloroplasts change their positions relative to the incident light to achieve optimal photosynthesis. In the case of motile green algae, cells change their swimming direction by switching between positive and negative phototaxis, i.e., swimming toward or away from the light source, depending on environmental and internal conditions. However, little is known about the molecular signals that determine the phototactic direction. Using the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, we found that cellular reduction-oxidation (redox) poise plays a key role: Cells always exhibited positive phototaxis after treatment with reactive oxygen species (ROS) and always displayed negative phototaxis after treatment with ROS quenchers. The redox-dependent switching of the sign of phototaxis may contribute in turn to the maintenance of cellular redox homeostasis.

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