The primitive red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae inhabits acidic hot springs and shows robust resistance to heat shock treatments up to 63 °C. Microarray analysis was performed to identify the key genes underlying the high temperature tolerance of this organism. Among the upregulated genes that were identified, we focused on two small heat shock proteins (sHSPs) that belong to a unique class of HSP families. These two genes are located side by side in an inverted repeat orientation on the same chromosome and share a promoter. These two genes were simultaneously and rapidly upregulated in response to heat shock treatment (>1,000-fold more than the control). Interestingly, upregulation appeared to be triggered not by a difference in temperatures, but rather by the absolute temperature. Similar sHSP structural genes have been reported in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, but the threshold temperature for the expression of these sHSP-encoding genes in Ch. reinhardtii was different from the threshold temperature for the expression of the sHSP genes from Cy. merolae. These results indicate the possible importance of an absolute temperature sensing system in the evolution and tolerance of high-temperature conditions among unicellular microalgae.
When Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain 3626 was cultured to the stationary phase in a medium that contained glucose, needle-like structures that emitted autofluorescence were observed in almost all cells by fluorescence microscopy under UV excitation. The needle-like structures completely overlapped with the profile of straight elongated mitochondria. Therefore, these structures were designated as mitochondrial fluorescent inclusion bodies (MFIBs). The MFIB-enriched mitochondrial fractions were successfully isolated and 2D-gel electrophoresis revealed that a protein of 54?kDa was only highly concentrated in the fractions. Determination of the N-terminal amino acid sequence of the 54-kDa protein identified it as a mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase, Ald4p. Immunofluorescence microscopy showed that anti-Ald4p antibody specifically stained MFIBs. Freeze-substitution electron microscopy demonstrated that cells that retained MFIBs had electron-dense filamentous structures with a diameter of 10?nm in straight elongated mitochondria. Immunoelectron microscopy showed that Ald4p was localized to the electron-dense filamentous structures in mitochondria. These results together showed that a major component of MFIBs is Ald4p. In addition, we demonstrate that MFIBs are common features that appear in mitochondria of many species of yeast.
The unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has a haplontic life cycle, and forms diploid zygotes for reproduction. The zygospore, a sporulating zygote, begins germination in response to light signals, generating haploid progenies and inducing several cell-biological events; e.g., DNA synthesis and meiotic division, successively. Their regulatory mechanisms remain largely unknown, so we focused on the early stages of germination and analyzed the dynamics of gene expression associated with the germination process. The gene expression levels of zygospores at 1 and 6h after light exposure were analyzed by a next-generation sequencing platform, the 454 GS Junior. At 6h, the photosynthesis pathway, including its antenna proteins and two methionine metabolism-related genes (methionine synthase and sulfite reductase), were up-regulated compared to 1h after light exposure. Meanwhile, three uncharacterized genes that contained an antibiotic biosynthesis monooxygenase domain and an HSP20/alpha crystallin family protein were specifically expressed at 1h after light exposure. These gene expressions were also verified by quantitative real-time PCR analysis. These results suggest that the photosynthesis and methionine synthesis pathways, both of which occur in the chloroplast, are activated in zygospores at around 6h after light exposure, and that some polyketides and/or a small heat shock protein may be related to the initiation of zygospore germination.
Condensins are multisubunit complexes that play central roles in chromosome organization and segregation in eukaryotes. Many eukaryotic species have two different condensin complexes (condensins I and II), although some species, such as fungi, have condensin I only. Here we use the red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae as a model organism because it represents the smallest and simplest organism that is predicted to possess both condensins I and II. We demonstrate that, despite the great evolutionary distance, spatiotemporal dynamics of condensins in C. merolae is strikingly similar to that observed in mammalian cells: condensin II is nuclear throughout the cell cycle, whereas condensin I appears on chromosomes only after the nuclear envelope partially dissolves at prometaphase. Unlike in mammalian cells, however, condensin II is confined to centromeres in metaphase, whereas condensin I distributes more broadly along arms. We firmly establish a targeted gene disruption technique in this organism and find, to our surprise, that condensin II is not essential for mitosis under laboratory growth conditions, although it plays a crucial role in facilitating sister centromere resolution in the presence of a microtubule drug. The results provide fundamental insights into the evolution of condensin-based chromosome architecture and dynamics.
Peroxisomes (microbodies) are ubiquitous single-membrane-bounded organelles and fulfill essential roles in the cellular metabolism. They are found in virtually all eukaryotic cells and basically multiply by division. However, the mechanochemical machinery involved in peroxisome division remains elusive. Here, we first identified the peroxisome-dividing (POD) machinery. We isolated the POD machinery from Cyanidioschyzon merolae, a unicellular red alga containing a single peroxisome. Peroxisomal division in C. merolae can be highly synchronized by light/dark cycles and the microtubule-disrupting agent oryzalin. By proteomic analysis based on the complete genome sequence of C. merolae, we identified a dynamin-related protein 3 (DRP3) ortholog, CmDnm1 (Dnm1), that predominantly accumulated with catalase in the dividing-peroxisome fraction. Immunofluorescence microscopy demonstrated that Dnm1 formed a ring at the division site of the peroxisome. The outlines of the isolated dynamin rings were dimly observed by phase-contrast microscopy and clearly stained for Dnm1. Electron microscopy revealed that the POD machinery was formed at the cytoplasmic side of the equator. Immunoelectron microscopy showed that the POD machinery consisted of an outer dynamin-based ring and an inner filamentous ring. Down-regulation of Dnm1 impaired peroxisomal division. Surprisingly, the same Dnm1 serially controlled peroxisomal division after mitochondrial division. Because genetic deficiencies of Dnm1 orthologs in multiperoxisomal organisms inhibited both mitochondrial and peroxisomal proliferation, it is thought that peroxisomal division by contraction of a dynamin-based machinery is universal among eukaryotes. These findings are useful for understanding the fundamental systems in eukaryotic cells.
The cell cycle usually refers to the mitotic cycle, but the cell-division cycle in the plant kingdom consists of not only nuclear but also mitochondrial and chloroplast division cycle. However, an integrated control system that initiates division of the three organelles has not been found. We report that a novel C-terminal kinesin-like protein, three-organelle division-inducing protein (TOP), controls nuclear, mitochondrial and chloroplast divisions in the red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae. A proteomics study revealed that TOP is a member of a complex of mitochondrial-dividing (MD) and plastid-dividing (PD) machineries (MD/PD machinery complex) just prior to constriction. After TOP localizes at the MD/PD machinery complex, mitochondrial and chloroplast divisions occur and the components of the MD/PD machinery complexes are phosphorylated. Furthermore, we found that TOP downregulation impaired both mitochondrial and chloroplast divisions. MD/PD machinery complexes were formed normally at each division site but they were neither phosphorylated nor constricted in these cells. Immunofluorescence signals of Aurora kinase (AUR) were localized around the MD machinery before constriction, whereas AUR was dispersed in the cytosol by TOP downregulation, suggesting that AUR is required for the constriction. Taken together our results suggest that TOP induces phosphorylation of MD/PD machinery components to accomplish mitochondrial and chloroplast divisions prior to nuclear division, by relocalization of AUR. In addition, given the presence of TOP homologs throughout the eukaryotes, and the involvement of TOP in mitochondrial and chloroplast division may illuminate the original function of C-terminal kinesin-like proteins.
The limited locations of tRNA introns are crucial for eukaryal tRNA-splicing endonuclease recognition. However, our analysis of the nuclear genome of an early-diverged red alga, Cyanidioschyzon merolae, demonstrated the first evidence of nuclear-encoded tRNA genes that contain ectopic and/or multiple introns. Some genes exhibited both intronic and permuted structures in which the 3-half of the tRNA coding sequence lies upstream of the 5-half, and an intron is inserted into either half. These highly disrupted tRNA genes, which account for 63% of all nuclear tRNA genes, are expressed via the orderly and sequential processing of bulge-helix-bulge (BHB) motifs at intron-exon junctions and termini of permuted tRNA precursors, probably by a C. merolae tRNA-splicing endonuclease with an unidentified subunit architecture. The results revealed a considerable diversity in eukaryal tRNA intron properties and endonuclease architectures, which will help to elucidate the acquisition mechanism of the BHB-mediated disrupted tRNA genes.
The unicellular red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae is an emerging model organism for studying organelle division and inheritance: the cell is composed of an extremely simple set of organelles (one nucleus, one mitochondrion and one chloroplast), and their genomes are completely sequenced. Although a fruitful set of cytological and biochemical methods have now been developed, gene targeting techniques remain to be fully established in this organism. Thus far, only a single selection marker, URA Cm-Gs , has been available that complements the uracil-auxotrophic mutant M4. URA Cm-Gs , a chimeric URA5.3 gene of C. merolae and the related alga Galdieria sulphuraria, was originally designed to avoid gene conversion of the mutated URA5.3 allele in the parental strain M4. Although an early example of targeted gene disruption by homologous recombination was reported using this marker, the genome structure of the resultant transformants had never been fully characterized. In the current study, we showed that the use of the chimeric URA Cm-Gs selection marker caused multicopy insertion at high frequencies, accompanied by undesired recombination events at the targeted loci. The copy number of the inserted fragments was variable among the transformants, resulting in high yet uneven levels of transgene expression. In striking contrast, when the authentic URA5.3 gene (URA Cm-Cm ) was used as a selection marker, efficient single-copy insertion was observed at the targeted locus. Thus, we have successfully established a highly reliable and reproducible method for gene targeting in C. merolae. Our method will be applicable to a number of genetic manipulations in this organism, including targeted gene disruption, replacement and tagging.
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a major site for secretory protein folding and lipid synthesis. Since ER cannot be synthesized de novo, it must be inherited during the cell cycle. Studying ER inheritance can however be difficult because the ER of typical plant and animal cells is morphologically complex. Therefore, our study used Cyanidioschyzon merolae, a species that has a simple ER structure, to investigate the inheritance of this organelle. Using immunofluorescence microscopy, we demonstrated that C. merolae contains a nuclear ER (nuclear envelope) and a small amount of peripheral ER extending from the nuclear ER. During mitosis, the nuclear ER became dumbbell-shaped and underwent division. Peripheral ER formed ring-like structures during the G1 and S phases, and extended toward the mitochondria and cell division planes during the M phase. These observations indicated that C. merolae undergoes closed mitosis, whereby the nuclear ER does not diffuse, and the peripheral ER contains cell cycle-specific structures.
It is generally believed that the cell cycle consists essentially of the mitotic cycle, which involves mitosis and cytokinesis. These processes are becoming increasingly well understood at the molecular level. However, successful cell reproduction requires duplication and segregation (inheritance) of all of the cellular contents, including not only the cell-nuclear genome but also intracellular organelles. Eukaryotic cells contain at least three types of double membrane-bounded organelles (cell nucleus, mitochondria and plastids), four types of single membrane-bounded organelles (endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, lysosomes and microbodies) and the cytoskeleton, which comprises tubulin-based structures (including microtubules, centrosome and spindle) and actin microfilaments. These membrane-bounded organelles cannot be formed de novo and daughter organelles must be inherited from parent organelles during cell cycle. Regulation of organelle division and its coordination with the progression of the cell cycle involves a sequence of events that are subjected to precise spatio-temporal control. Considering that the cells of higher animals and plants contain many organelles which tend to behave somewhat randomly, there is little information concerning the division and inheritance of these double- and single-membrane-bounded organelles during the cell cycle. Here, we summarize the current cytological and morphological knowledge of the cell cycle, including the division cycles of seven membrane-bounded and some non-membrane-bounded organelles. The underlying mechanisms and the biological relevance of these processes are discussed, particularly with respect to cells of the primitive alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae that have a minimum of organelles. We discuss unsolved problems and future perspectives opened by recent studies.
Cryopreservation is essential for maintaining stable stocks of organisms. We report the development of a method for cryopreservation of the unicellular red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae, a model organism for the investigation of the basic architecture of photosynthetic eukaryotes. Glycerol, dimethyl sulfoxide and methanol were examined for their ability to protect the cell from cryoinjury and/or cytotoxicity. It was found that methanol was the most effective as a cryoprotectant for C. merolae. After the optimized setting of parameters such as working concentration of cryoprotectant and the period of slow cooling, cultures were supplemented with 5% (v/v) methanol and frozen by slow cooling using a passive-freezing unit, followed by plunging into liquid nitrogen. We found C. merolae cells retained greater than 80% viability for at least 83 days in storage.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is generally packaged into the mitochondrial nucleoid (mt-nucleoid) by a high-mobility group (HMG) protein. Glom is an mtDNA-packaging HMG protein in Physarum polycephalum. Here we identified a new mtDNA-packaging protein, Glom2, which had a region homologous with yeast Mgm101. Glom2 could bind to an entire mtDNA and worked synergistically with Glom for condensation of mtDNA in vitro. Down-regulation of Glom2 enhanced the alteration of mt-nucleoid morphology and the loss of mtDNA induced by down-regulation of Glom, and impaired mRNA accumulation of some mtDNA-encoded genes. These data suggest that Glom2 may organize the mt-nucleoid coordinately with Glom.
In chloroplast division, the plastid-dividing (PD) ring is a main structure of the PD machinery and is a universal structure in the plant kingdom. However, the components and formation of the PD ring have been enigmatic. By proteomic analysis of PD machineries isolated from Cyanidioschyzon merolae, we identified the glycosyltransferase protein plastid-dividing ring 1 (PDR1), which constructs the PD ring and is widely conserved from red alga to land plants. Electron microscopy showed that the PDR1 protein forms a ring with carbohydrates at the chloroplast-division site. Fluorometric saccharide ingredient analysis of purified PD ring filaments showed that only glucose was included, and down-regulation of PDR1 impaired chloroplast division. Thus, the chloroplasts are divided by the PD ring, which is a bundle of PDR1-mediated polyglucan filaments.
Mitochondria and plastids have their own DNAs and are regarded as descendants of endosymbiotic prokaryotes. Organellar DNAs are not naked in vivo but are associated with basic proteins to form DNA-protein complexes (called organelle nuclei). The concept of organelle nuclei provides a new approach to explain the origin, division, and inheritance of organelles. Organelles divide using organelle division rings (machineries) after organelle-nuclear division. Organelle division machineries are a chimera of the FtsZ (filamentous temperature sensitive Z) ring of bacterial origin and the eukaryotic mechanochemical dynamin ring. Thus, organelle division machineries contain a key to solve the origin of organelles (eukaryotes). The maternal inheritance of organelles developed during sexual reproduction and it is also probably intimately related to the origin of organelles. The aims of this review are to describe the strategies used to reveal the dynamics of organelle division machineries, and the significance of the division machineries and maternal inheritance in the origin and evolution of eukaryotes.
The storage glucans of Cyanidioschyzon merolae [clade L-1 (cyanidian algae), order Porphyridiales, subclass Bangiophycidae], which is considered to be one of the most primitive rhodophytes, were analyzed to understand the early evolution of the glucan structure in the Rhodophyta. Chain-length distribution analysis of the glucans of cyanidian algae demonstrated that while the glucans of Cyanidium caldarium and Galdieria sulphuraria are of the glycogen type, those of C. merolae are of the semiamylopectin type, as in other lineages of the Rhodophyta. Gel permeation chromatography, however, showed that the glucans of C. merolae do not include amylose, being different from those of other Bangiophycidae species. Identification by MALDI-TOF-MS and enzyme assaying of glucan granule-bound proteins indicated that phosphorylase, but not starch synthase, is included. Thus, C. merolae has an unusual glucan and bound-protein composition for the Bangiophycidae, appearing to be a member of the Florideophycidae. The finding that the alga does not contain amylose or the related enzyme, granule-bound starch synthase, is, however, consistent with previously reported results of molecular phylogenetic analysis of starch synthases. Our results support an evolutionary scenario defined by the loss of starch and reversion to glycogen synthesis during the evolution of cyanidian algae, and suggest the possibility that a C. merolae-like primitive rhodophyte might have evolved into the Florideophycidae.
Vacuoles/lysosomes function in endocytosis and in storage and digestion of metabolites. These organelles are inherited by the daughter cells in eukaryotes. However, the mechanisms of this inheritance are poorly understood because the cells contain multiple vacuoles that behave randomly. The primitive red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae has a minimum set of organelles. Here, we show that C. merolae contains about four vacuoles that are distributed equally between the daughter cells by binding to dividing mitochondria. Binding is mediated by VIG1, a 30-kD coiled-coil protein identified by microarray analyses and immunological assays. VIG1 appears on the surface of free vacuoles in the cytosol and then tethers the vacuoles to the mitochondria. The vacuoles are released from the mitochondrion in the daughter cells following VIG1 digestion. Suppression of VIG1 by antisense RNA disrupted the migration of vacuoles. Thus, VIG1 is essential for tethering vacuoles to mitochondria during vacuole inheritance in C. merolae.
In most sexual organisms, including isogamous, anisogamous and oogamous organisms, uniparental transmission is a striking and universal characteristic of the transmission of organelle (plastid and mitochondrial) genomes (DNA). Using genetic, biochemical and molecular biological techniques, mechanisms of uniparental (maternal and parental) and biparental transmission of organelle genomes have been studied and reviewed. Although to date there has been no cytological review of the transmission of organelle genomes, cytology offers advantages in terms of direct evidence and can enhance global studies of the transmission of organelle genomes. In this review, I focus on the cytological mechanism of uniparental inheritance by "active digestion of male or female organelle nuclei (nucleoids, DNA)" which is universal among isogamous, anisogamous, and oogamous organisms. The global existence of uniparental transmission since the evolution of sexual eukaryotes may imply that the cell nuclear genome continues to inhibit quantitative evolution of organelles by organelle recombination.
To understand the cell cycle, we must understand not only mitotic division but also organelle division cycles. Plant and animal cells contain many organelles which divide randomly; therefore, it has been difficult to elucidate these organelle division cycles. We used the primitive red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae, as it contains a single mitochondrion and plastid per cell, and organelle division can be highly synchronized by a light/dark cycle. We demonstrated that mitochondria and plastids multiplied by independent division cycles (organelle G1, S, G2 and M phases) and organelle division occurred before cell-nuclear division. Additionally, organelle division was found to be dependent on microtubules as well as cell-nuclear division. We have observed five stages of microtubule dynamics: (1) the microtubule disappears during the G1 phase; (2) alpha-tubulin is dispersed within the cytoplasm without forming microtubules during the S phase; (3) alpha-tubulin is assembled into spindle poles during the G2 phase; (4) polar microtubules are organized along the mitochondrion during prophase; and (5) mitotic spindles in cell nuclei are organized during the M phase. Microfluorometry demonstrated that the intensity peak of localization of alpha-tubulin changed in the order to spindle poles, mitochondria, spindle poles, and central spindle area, but total fluorescent intensity did not change remarkably throughout mitotic phases suggesting that division and separation of the cell nucleus and mitochondrion is mediated by spindle pole bodies. Inhibition of microtubule organization induced cell-nuclear division, mitochondria separation, and division of a single membrane-bound microbody, suggesting that similar to cell-nuclear division, mitochondrion separation and microbody division are dependent on microtubules.
The ability of the primitive red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae to adapt to high temperatures was utilized to produce thermotolerant transgenic plants. C. merolae inhabits an extreme environment (42 degrees C, pH 2.5) and the nuclear, mitochondrial, and plastid genomes have been sequenced. We analyzed expressed sequence tag (EST) data to reveal mechanisms of tolerance to high temperatures. The stromal ascorbate peroxidase (CmstAPX) that scavenges reactive oxygen species (ROS) was expressed at high levels (4th of 4,479 entries), thus, it offers clues to understanding high-temperature tolerance. CmstAPX has a chloroplast transit peptide (cTP) and a peroxidase domain. The peroxidase domain of CmstAPX has deletions and insertions when compared with that of Arabidopsis thaliana stromal APX (AtstAPX). To clarify aspects of tolerance to oxidative and high-temperature stress, we produced transgenic A. thaliana plants overexpressing CmstAPX and AtstAPX. CmstAPX plants showed higher activities of soluble APX than those of wild-type and AtstAPX plants. Fluorescence signals of a GFP fusion protein, immuno-fluorescence, and immunogold electron microscopy showed that CmstAPX was localized in the stroma of chloroplasts. Compared with wild-type plants and AtstAPX plants, CmstAPX plants were more tolerant to oxidative stress induced by methylviologen (MV, 0.4 muM) and high-temperature stress (33 degrees C). CmstAPX plants retained the highest chlorophyll content when treated with MV and high temperature, and their stroma and chloroplasts remained intact in their chloroplasts, whereas they disintegrated in wild-type plants. Our results suggest that the increased activity of APX in the chloroplasts of CmstAPX plants increased thermotolerance by increasing ROS-scavenging capacity at high temperatures.
Plant vacuoles are organelles bound by a single membrane, and involved in various functions such as intracellular digestion, metabolite storage, and secretion. To understand their evolution and fundamental mechanisms, characterization of vacuoles in primitive plants would be invaluable. Algal cells often contain polyphosphate-rich compartments, which are thought to be the counterparts of seed plant vacuoles. Here, we developed a method for isolating these vacuoles from Cyanidioschyzon merolae, and identified their proteins by MALDI TOF-MS. The vacuoles were of unexpectedly high density, and were highly enriched at the boundary between 62 and 80% w/v iodixanol by density-gradient ultracentrifugation. The vacuole-containing fraction was subjected to SDS-PAGE, and a total of 46 proteins were identified, including six lytic enzymes, 13 transporters, six proteins for membrane fusion or vesicle trafficking, five non-lytic enzymes, 13 proteins of unknown function, and three miscellaneous proteins. Fourteen proteins were homologous to known vacuolar or lysosomal proteins from seed plants, yeasts or mammals, suggesting functional and evolutionary relationships between C. merolae vacuoles and these compartments. The vacuolar localization of four novel proteins, namely CMP249C (metallopeptidase), CMJ260C (prenylated Rab receptor), CMS401C (ABC transporter) and CMT369C (o-methyltransferase), was confirmed by labeling with specific antibodies or transient expression of hemagglutinin-tagged proteins. The results presented here provide insights into the proteome of C. merolae vacuoles and shed light on their functions, as well as indicating new features.
Plant cells sense environmental nitrogen levels and alter their gene expression accordingly to survive; however, the underlying regulatory mechanisms still remains to be elucidated. Here, we identified and characterized a transcription factor that is responsible for expression of nitrogen assimilation genes in a unicellular red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae. DNA microarray and Northern blot analyses revealed that transcript of the gene encoding CmMYB1, an R2R3-type MYB transcription factor, increased 1 h after nitrogen depletion. The CmMYB1 protein started to accumulate after 2 h and reached a peak after 4 h after nitrogen depletion, correlating with the expression of key nitrogen assimilation genes, such as CmNRT, CmNAR, CmNIR, CmAMT, and CmGS. Although the transcripts of these nitrogen assimilation genes were detected in nitrate-grown cells, they disappeared upon the addition of preferred nitrogen source such as ammonium or glutamine, suggesting the presence of a nitrogen catabolite repression (NCR) mechanism. The nitrogen depletion-induced gene expression disappeared in a CmMYB1-null mutant, and the mutant showed decreased cell viability after exposure to the nitrogen-depleted conditions compared with the parental strain. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis demonstrated that CmMYB1 specifically occupied these nitrogen-responsive promoter regions only under nitrogen-depleted conditions, and electrophoretic mobility shift assays using crude cell extract revealed specific binding of CmMYB1, or a complex containing CmMYB1, to these promoters. Thus, the presented results indicated that CmMYB1 is a central nitrogen regulator in C. merolae.
RecA and its ubiquitous homologs are crucial components in homologous recombination. Besides their eukaryotic nuclear counterparts, plants characteristically possess several bacterial-type RecA proteins localized to chloroplasts and/or mitochondria, but their roles are poorly understood. Here, we analyzed the role of the only mitochondrial RecA in the moss Physcomitrella patens. Disruption of the P. patens mitochondrial recA gene RECA1 caused serious defects in plant growth and development and abnormal mitochondrial morphology. Analyses of mitochondrial DNA in disruptants revealed that frequent DNA rearrangements occurred at multiple loci. Structural analysis suggests that the rearrangements, which in some cases were associated with partial deletions and amplifications of mitochondrial DNA, were due to aberrant recombination between short (<100 bp) direct and inverted repeats in which the sequences were not always identical. Such repeats are abundant in the mitochondrial genome, and interestingly many are located in group II introns. These results suggest that RECA1 does not promote but rather suppresses recombination among short repeats scattered throughout the mitochondrial genome, thereby maintaining mitochondrial genome stability. We propose that RecA-mediated homologous recombination plays a crucial role in suppression of short repeat-mediated genome rearrangements in plant mitochondria.
Antisense suppression is a powerful tool to analyze gene function. In this study, we show that antisense RNA suppressed the expression of a target gene in the unicellular red alga, Cyanidioschyzon merolae. In this study, the antisense strand of the catalase gene was cloned and inserted into an expression vector upstream of the GFP gene. This plasmid was introduced into C. merolae cells using a polyethylene glycol-mediated transformation protocol. Using the expression of GFP as a marker of transformed cells, the expression of catalase was examined by immunocytochemistry. Decreased expression of catalase was observed in cells that were transformed with the antisense strand of the catalase gene. These results indicate the utility of this antisense suppression system.
Bacterial cell division systems that include FtsZ are found throughout prokaryotes. Mitochondria arose from an endosymbiotic alpha-proteobacterial ancestor and proliferate by division. However, how the mitochondrial division system was established from bacterial division is not clear. Here, we have isolated intact mitochondrial division (MD) machineries from the primitive red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae and identified a bacterial ZapA-like protein, ZED, that constricts the basal structure of MD machinery with FtsZ. ZED contains a predicted mitochondrial transit signal and two coiled-coil regions and has partial homology with the bacterial division protein ZapA. Cytological studies revealed that ZED accumulates to form a ring structure that colocalizes with FtsZ beneath the inner membrane. ZED proteins are expressed just before mitochondrial division. The short-form ZED (S-ZED) then appears at the mitochondrial constriction phase. Protein-protein interaction analysis and transient expression of antisense against ZED showed that S-ZED interacts with FtsZ1 to constitute the basal structure of the MD machinery and is required for mitochondrial division. We also demonstrate compelling functional similarity between bacterial ZapA and mitochondrial ZED, suggesting that the bacterial cell division system was incorporated into the MD machinery with remodeling of bacterial division proteins during evolution.
For more than 140 years, pollen tube guidance in flowering plants has been thought to be mediated by chemoattractants derived from target ovules. However, there has been no convincing evidence of any particular molecule being the true attractant that actually controls the navigation of pollen tubes towards ovules. Emerging data indicate that two synergid cells on the side of the egg cell emit a diffusible, species-specific signal to attract the pollen tube at the last step of pollen tube guidance. Here we report that secreted, cysteine-rich polypeptides (CRPs) in a subgroup of defensin-like proteins are attractants derived from the synergid cells. We isolated synergid cells of Torenia fournieri, a unique plant with a protruding embryo sac, to identify transcripts encoding secreted proteins as candidate molecules for the chemoattractant(s). We found two CRPs, abundantly and predominantly expressed in the synergid cell, which are secreted to the surface of the egg apparatus. Moreover, they showed activity in vitro to attract competent pollen tubes of their own species and were named as LUREs. Injection of morpholino antisense oligomers against the LUREs impaired pollen tube attraction, supporting the finding that LUREs are the attractants derived from the synergid cells of T. fournieri.
Previous cell cycle studies have been based on cell-nuclear proliferation only. Eukaryotic cells, however, have double membranes-bound organelles, such as the cell nucleus, mitochondrion, plastids and single-membrane-bound organelles such as ER, the Golgi body, vacuoles (lysosomes) and microbodies. Organelle proliferations, which are very important for cell functions, are poorly understood. To clarify this, we performed a microarray analysis during the cell cycle of Cyanidioschyzon merolae. C. merolae cells contain a minimum set of organelles that divide synchronously. The nuclear, mitochondrial and plastid genomes were completely sequenced. The results showed that, of 158 genes induced during the S or G2-M phase, 93 were known and contained genes related to mitochondrial division, ftsZ1-1, ftsz1-2 and mda1, and plastid division, ftsZ2-1, ftsZ2-2 and cmdnm2. Moreover, three genes, involved in vesicle trafficking between the single-membrane organelles such as vps29 and the Rab family protein, were identified and might be related to partitioning of single-membrane-bound organelles. In other genes, 46 were hypothetical and 19 were hypothetical conserved. The possibility of finding novel organelle division genes from hypothetical and hypothetical conserved genes in the S and G2-M expression groups is discussed.
Eukaryotic cells arose from an ancient endosymbiotic association of prokaryotes, with plant cells harboring 3 genomes as the remnants of such evolution. In plant cells, plastid and mitochondrial DNA replication [organelle DNA replication (ODR)] occurs in advance of the subsequent cell cycles composed of nuclear DNA replication (NDR) and cell division. However, the mechanism by which replication of these genomes with different origins is coordinated is largely unknown. Here, we show that NDR is regulated by a tetrapyrrole signal in plant cells, which has been suggested as an organelle-to-nucleus retrograde signal. In synchronized cultures of the primitive red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae, specific inhibition of A-type cyclin-dependent kinase (CDKA) prevented NDR but not ODR after onset of the cell cycle. In contrast, inhibition of ODR by nalidixic acid also resulted in inhibition of NDR, indicating a strict dependence of NDR on ODR. The requirement of ODR for NDR was bypassed by addition of the tetrapyrrole intermediates protoporphyrin IX (ProtoIX) or Mg-ProtoIX, both of which activated CDKA without inducing ODR. This scheme was also observed in cultured tobacco cells (BY-2), where inhibition of ODR by nalidixic acid prevented CDKA activation and NDR, and these inhibitions were circumvented by Mg-ProtoIX without inducing ODR. We thus show that tetrapyrrole-mediated organelle-nucleus replicational coupling is an evolutionary conserved process among plant cells.
The Golgi body has important roles in modifying, sorting, and transport of proteins and lipids. Eukaryotic cells have evolved in various ways to inherit the Golgi body from mother to daughter cells, which allows the cells to function properly immediately after mitosis. Here we used Cyanidioschyzon merolae, one of the most suitable systems for studies of organelle dynamics, to investigate the inheritance of the Golgi. Two proteins, Sed5 and Got1, were used as Golgi markers. Using immunofluorescence microscopy, we demonstrated that C. merolae contains one to two Golgi bodies per cell. The Golgi body was localized to the perinuclear region during the G1 and S phases and next to the spindle poles in a microtubule-dependent manner during M phase. It was inherited together with spindle poles upon cytokinesis. These observations suggested that Golgi inheritance is dependent on microtubules in C. merolae.
To elucidate the biological functions of small (p)ppGpp synthetases YjbM and YwaC of Bacillus subtilis, we constructed RIK1059 and RIK1066 strains carrying isopropyl-?-D-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG) inducible yjbM and ywaC genes, respectively, in the ?relA ?yjbM ?ywaC triple mutant background. While the uninduced and IPTG-induced RIK1059 cells grew similarly in LB medium, the growth of RIK1066 cells was arrested following the addition of IPTG during the early exponential growth phase. Induction of YwaC expression by IPTG also severely decreased the intracellular GTP level and drastically altered the transcriptional profile in RIK1066 cells. Sucrose density gradient centrifugation analysis of the ribosomal fractions prepared from the IPTG-induced RIK1066 cells revealed three peaks corresponding to 30S, 50S, and 70S ribosome particles, and also an extra peak. Electron microscope studies revealed that the extra peak fraction contained dimers of 70S ribosomes, which were similar to the Escherichia coli 100S ribosomes. Proteomic analysis revealed that the 70S dimer contained an extra protein, YvyD, in addition to those found in the 70S ribosome. Accordingly, strain resulting from the disruption of the yvyD gene in the RIK1066 cells was unable to form 70S dimers following IPTG induction, indicating that YvyD is required for the formation of these dimers in B. subtilis.
Plastids divide by constriction of the plastid-dividing (PD) machinery, which encircles the division site. The PD machinery consists of the stromal inner machinery which includes the inner PD and filamenting temperature-sensitive mutant Z (FtsZ) rings and the cytosolic outer machinery which includes the outer PD and dynamin rings. The major constituent of the PD machinery is the outer PD ring, which consists of a bundle of polyglucan filaments. In addition, recent proteomic studies suggest that the PD machinery contains additional proteins that have not been characterized. The PD machinery forms from the inside to the outside of the plastid. The constriction seems to occur by sliding of the polyglucan filaments of the outer PD ring, aided by dynamin. The final fission of the plastid is probably promoted by the pinchase activity of dynamin.
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