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Plant Cell. 2012 May;24(5):1860-75. doi: 10.1105/tpc.111.093435. Epub 2012 May 25.

Activation of the carbon concentrating mechanism by CO2 deprivation coincides with massive transcriptional restructuring in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0665, USA.

Erratum in

  • Plant Cell. 2012 Aug;24(8):3483.


A CO(2)-concentrating mechanism (CCM) is essential for the growth of most eukaryotic algae under ambient (392 ppm) and very low (<100 ppm) CO(2) concentrations. In this study, we used replicated deep mRNA sequencing and regulatory network reconstruction to capture a remarkable scope of changes in gene expression that occurs when Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cells are shifted from high to very low levels of CO(2) (≤100 ppm). CCM induction 30 to 180 min post-CO(2) deprivation coincides with statistically significant changes in the expression of an astonishing 38% (5884) of the 15,501 nonoverlapping C. reinhardtii genes. Of these genes, 1088 genes were induced and 3828 genes were downregulated by a log(2) factor of 2. The latter indicate a global reduction in photosynthesis, protein synthesis, and energy-related biochemical pathways. The magnitude of transcriptional rearrangement and its major patterns are robust as analyzed by three different statistical methods. De novo DNA motif discovery revealed new putative binding sites for Myeloid oncogene family transcription factors potentially involved in activating low CO(2)-induced genes. The (CA)(n) repeat (9 ≤ n ≤ 25) is present in 29% of upregulated genes but almost absent from promoters of downregulated genes. These discoveries open many avenues for new research.

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