The high light response and redox control of thylakoid FtsH protease in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.
Molecular Plant 2016, 10:99-114

Wang F, Qi Y, Malnoe A, Choquet Y, Wollman F-A, de Vitry C

Abstract
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.

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