Plastid genomes of red algae contain more genes than those of green plant lineages, and it is of special interest that four transcription factors derived from ancestral cyanobacteria are encoded therein. However, little is known about transcriptional regulation of the red algal plastid genome. In this study, we constructed a red algal plastid DNA microarray of Cyanidioschyzon merolae covering almost all protein coding genes, and found that plastid genes are differentially activated by illumination. Run-on transcription assays using isolated plastids confirmed that activation takes place at the transcriptional level. In bacteria and plants, sigma factors determine the genes that are to be transcribed, and four plastid sigma factors (Cm_SIG1–4) encoded in the nuclear genome of C. merolae may be responsible for differential gene expression of the plastid genome. We found that transcripts for all Cm_SIG genes accumulated transiently after a shift from dark to light, whereas only the Cm_SIG2 transcript was increased after a shift from low to high light, suggesting that Cm_SIG2 is a sigma factor that responds to high light. Phylogenetic analysis of plastid sigma factors suggested that sigma factors of red and green algal plastids and the group 1 sigma factors of cyanobacteria form a monophyletic group.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 24, 2005
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