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Curr Genet. 2004 Feb;45(2):61-75. Epub 2003 Dec 2.

A genome's-eye view of the light-harvesting polypeptides of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

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  • 1The Department of Plant Biology, The Carnegie Institution of Washington, 260 Panama Street, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a valuable model system for defining the structure and function of polypeptides of the photosynthetic apparatus and the dynamic aspects of photosynthesis. Recently, a genome-wide analysis of cDNAs and a draft genome sequence that covers approximately 90% of the genome were made available, providing a clear picture of the composition of specific gene families, the relationships among the gene family members, and the location of each member on the genome. We used the available sequence information to analyze the extensive family of light-harvesting genes in C. reinhardtii. There are nine genes encoding polypeptides of the major light-harvesting complex of photosystem II, two genes encoding the minor light-harvesting polypeptides of photosystem II, and nine genes encoding polypeptides predicted to comprise the photosystem I light-harvesting complex. Furthermore, there are five genes encoding early light-induced proteins and two genes encoding LI818 polypeptides. A candidate for the PsbS gene has also been found in the raw genome sequence data (Niyogi, personal communication), although no genes encoding homologues of the Sep, or Hli polypeptides have been identified. In this manuscript, we identify and classify the family of light-harvesting polypeptides encoded on the C. reinhardtii genome. This is an important first step in designing specific genetic, biochemical, and physiological studies aimed at characterizing the composition, function, and regulation of the light-harvesting complexes.

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