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Plant Mol Biol. 2018 Jan;96(1-2):135-149. doi: 10.1007/s11103-017-0685-6. Epub 2017 Dec 1.

Deletion of psbQ' gene in Cyanidioschyzon merolae reveals the function of extrinsic PsbQ' in PSII.

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Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw, Miecznikowa 1, 02-096, Warsaw, Poland.
Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw, Miecznikowa 1, 02-096, Warsaw, Poland.


We have successfully produced single-cell colonies of C. merolae mutants, lacking the PsbQ' subunit in its PSII complex by application of DTA-aided mutant selection. We have investigated the physiological changes in PSII function and structure and proposed a tentative explanation of the function of PsbQ' subunit in the PSII complex. We have improved the selectivity of the Cyanidioschyzon merolae nuclear transformation method by the introduction of diphtheria toxin genes into the transformation vector as an auxiliary selectable marker. The revised method allowed us to obtained single-cell colonies of C. merolae, lacking the gene of the PsbQ' extrinsic protein. The efficiency of gene replacement was extraordinarily high, allowing for a complete deletion of the gene of interest, without undesirable illegitimate integration events. We have confirmed the absence of PsbQ' protein at genetic and protein level. We have characterized the physiology of mutant cells and isolated PSII protein complex and concluded that PsbQ' is involved in nuclear regulation of PSII activity, by influencing several parameters of PSII function. Among these: oxygen evolving activity, partial dissociation of PsbV, regulation of dimerization, downsizing of phycobilisomes rods and regulation of zeaxanthin abundance. The adaptation of cellular physiology appeared to favorite upregulation of PSII and concurrent downregulation of PSI, resulting in an imbalance of energy distribution, decrease of photosynthesis and inhibition of cell proliferation.


Chloramphenicol acetyltransferase; Cyanidioschyzon merolae; DTA toxin; PEG; PSII extrinsic protein deletion; PSII mutants; PsbQ’; Stable red algae nuclear transformation

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