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Elimination of the Chlamydomonas gene family that encodes the small subunit of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase

Khrebtukova, I., Spreitzer, R.J.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 1996 v.93 no.24 pp. 13689-13693
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, mutagenesis, insertional mutagenesis, structural genes, ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase, genetic transformation, loci, recombinant DNA, recombinant proteins, mutants, genetic complementation
Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/ oxygenase (EC is the key photosynthetic enzyme that catalyzes the first step of CO2 fixation. The chloroplast-localized holoenzyme of plants and green algae contains eight nuclear-encoded small subunits and eight chloroplast-encoded large subunits. Although much has been learned about the enzyme active site that resides within each large subunit, it has been difficult to assess the role of eukaryotic small subunits in holoenzyme function and expression. Small subunits are coded by a family of genes, precluding genetic screening or nuclear transformation approaches for the recovery of small-subunit mutants. In this study, the two small-subunit genes of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii were eliminated during random insertional mutagenesis. The photosynthesis-deficient deletion mutant can be complemented with either of the two wild-type small-subunit genes or with a chimeric gene that contains features of both. Thus, either small subunit is sufficient for holoenzyme assembly and function. In the absence of small subunits, expression of chloroplast-encoded large subunits appears to be inhibited at the level of translation.