Plant physiology

Chloroplast DNA replication is regulated by the redox state independently of chloroplast division in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

PMID 23447524


Chloroplasts arose from a cyanobacterial endosymbiont and multiply by division. In algal cells, chloroplast division is regulated by the cell cycle so as to occur only once, in the S phase. Chloroplasts possess multiple copies of their own genome that must be replicated during chloroplast proliferation. In order to examine how chloroplast DNA replication is regulated in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, we first asked whether it is regulated by the cell cycle, as is the case for chloroplast division. Chloroplast DNA is replicated in the light and not the dark phase, independent of the cell cycle or the timing of chloroplast division in photoautotrophic culture. Inhibition of photosynthetic electron transfer blocked chloroplast DNA replication. However, chloroplast DNA was replicated when the cells were grown heterotrophically in the dark, raising the possibility that chloroplast DNA replication is coupled with the reducing power supplied by photosynthesis or the uptake of acetate. When dimethylthiourea, a reactive oxygen species scavenger, was added to the photoautotrophic culture, chloroplast DNA was replicated even in the dark. In contrast, when methylviologen, a reactive oxygen species inducer, was added, chloroplast DNA was not replicated in the light. Moreover, the chloroplast DNA replication activity in both the isolated chloroplasts and nucleoids was increased by dithiothreitol, while it was repressed by diamide, a specific thiol-oxidizing reagent. These results suggest that chloroplast DNA replication is regulated by the redox state that is sensed by the nucleoids and that the disulfide bonds in nucleoid-associated proteins are involved in this regulatory activity.

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