Expression activation and functional analysis of HLA3, a putative inorganic carbon transporter inChlamydomonas reinhardtii

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The CO2 concentrating mechanism (CCM) is a key component of the carbon assimilation strategy of aquatic microalgae. Induced by limiting CO2 and tightly regulated, the CCM enables these microalgae to respond rapidly to varying environmental CO2 supplies and to perform photosynthetic CO2 assimilation in a cost-effective way. A functional CCM in eukaryotic algae requires Rubisco sequestration, rapid interconversion between CO2 andSymbolcatalyzed by carbonic anhydrases (CAs), and active inorganic carbon (Ci) uptake. In the model microalgaChlamydomonas reinhardtii, a membrane protein HLA3 is proposed to be involved in active Ci uptake across the plasma membrane. In this study, we use an artificially designed transcription activator-like effector (dTALE) to activate the expression of HLA3. The successful activation of HLA3 expression demonstrates dTALE as a promising tool for gene-specific activation and investigation of gene function inChlamydomonas. Activation of HLA3 expression in high CO2 acclimated cells, where HLA3 is not expressed, resulted in increased Ci accumulation and Ci-dependent photosynthetic O2 evolution specifically in very low CO2 concentrations, which confirms that HLA3 is indeed involved in Ci uptake, and suggests it is mainly associated withSymboltransport in very low CO2 concentrations, conditions in which active CO2 uptake is highly limited.

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