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EMBO J. 1997 Nov 17;16(22):6713-26.

Disruption of the plastid ycf10 open reading frame affects uptake of inorganic carbon in the chloroplast of Chlamydomonas.

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Departments of Molecular Biology and Plant Biology, University of Geneva, 30 quai Ernest-Ansermet, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.


The product of the chloroplast ycf10 gene has been localized in the inner chloroplast envelope membrane (Sasaki et al., 1993) and found to display sequence homology with the cyanobacterial CotA product which is altered in mutants defective in CO2 transport and proton extrusion (Katoh et al., 1996a,b). In Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, ycf10, located between the psbI and atpH genes, encodes a putative hydrophobic protein of 500 residues, which is considerably larger than its higher plant homologue because of a long insertion that separates the conserved N and C termini. Using biolistic transformation, we have disrupted ycf10 with the chloroplast aadA expression cassette and examined the phenotype of the homoplasmic transformants. These were found to grow both photoheterotrophically and photoautotrophically under low light, thereby revealing that the Ycf10 product is not essential for the photosynthetic reactions. However, under high light these transformants did not grow photoautotrophically and barely photoheterotrophically. The increased light sensitivity of the transformants appears to result from a limitation in photochemical energy utilization and/or dissipation which correlates with a greatly diminished photosynthetic response to exogenous (CO2 + HCO3-), especially under conditions where the chloroplast inorganic carbon transport system is not induced. Mass spectrometric measurements with either whole cells or isolated chloroplasts from the transformants revealed that the CO2 and HCO3- uptake systems have a reduced affinity for their substrates. The results suggest the existence of a ycf10-dependent system within the plastid envelope which promotes efficient inorganic carbon (Ci) uptake into chloroplasts.

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