© 2018, The Author(s). Chloroplast gene expression is a fascinating and highly regulated process, which was mainly studied on specific genes in a few model organisms including the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii) and the embryophyte (land) plants tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). However, a direct plastid genome-wide interspecies comparison of chloroplast gene expression that includes translation was missing. We adapted a targeted chloroplast ribosome profiling approach to quantitatively compare RNA abundance and translation output between Chlamydomonas, tobacco and Arabidopsis. The re-analysis of established chloroplast mutants confirmed the capability of the approach by detecting known as well as previously undetected translation defects (including the potential photosystem II assembly-dependent regulation of PsbH). Systematic comparison of the algal and land plant wild-type gene expression showed that, for most genes, the steady-state translation output is highly conserved among the three species, while the levels of transcript accumulation are more distinct. Whereas in Chlamydomonas transcript accumulation and translation output are closely balanced, this correlation is less obvious in embryophytes, indicating more pronounced translational regulation. Altogether, this suggests that green algae and land plants evolved different strategies to achieve conserved levels of protein synthesis.
Trösch, R., Barahimipour, R., Gao, Y., Badillo-Corona, J. A., Gotsmann, V. L., Zimmer, D., Mühlhaus, T., Zoschke, R., & Willmund, F. (2018). Commonalities and differences of chloroplast translation in a green alga and land plants. Nature Plants, 564-575. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-018-0211-0