Molecular plant

The High Light Response and Redox Control of Thylakoid FtsH Protease in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

PMID 27702692


In Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, the major protease involved in the maintenance of photosynthetic machinery in thylakoid membranes, the FtsH protease, mostly forms large hetero-oligomers (∼1 MDa) comprising FtsH1 and FtsH2 subunits, whatever the light intensity for growth. Upon high light exposure, the FtsH subunits display a shorter half-life, which is counterbalanced by an increase in FTSH1/2 mRNA levels, resulting in the modest upregulation of FtsH1/2 proteins. Furthermore, we found that high light increases the protease activity through a hitherto unnoticed redox-controlled reduction of intermolecular disulfide bridges. We isolated a Chlamydomonas FTSH1 promoter-deficient mutant, ftsh1-3, resulting from the insertion of a TOC1 transposon, in which the high light-induced upregulation of FTSH1 gene expression is largely lost. In ftsh1-3, the abundance of FtsH1 and FtsH2 proteins are loosely coupled (decreased by 70% and 30%, respectively) with no formation of large and stable homo-oligomers. Using strains exhibiting different accumulation levels of the FtsH1 subunit after complementation of ftsh1-3, we demonstrate that high light tolerance is tightly correlated with the abundance of the FtsH protease. Thus, the response of Chlamydomonas to light stress involves higher levels of FtsH1/2 subunits associated into large complexes with increased proteolytic activity.