Chlamydomonas Hydrogen Production
Living in soil or fresh water, the green alga Chlamydomonas experiences conditions of hypoxia, causing it to produce molecular hydrogen. Many researchers are attempting to harness this response to produce biohydrogen fuel. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms used by Chlamydomonas cells to detect low O2 levels, transduce the hypoxia signal, and initiate changes in expression of genes encoding hydrogenases. Using a reporter gene system composed of the promoter of the HYDA1 gene encoding fused to the coding sequence of a gene required for flagellar motility, these researchers have used a genetic screen to identify the CHC1 gene in the pathway for regulating expression of the HYDA1 gene. Mutation of the CHC1 gene results in changes in gene expression that overlap with the hypoxia response. The researchers are beginning to investigate the function of the F-box protein Chc1 by identifying its binding partners using yeast two-hybrid methods and other protein-protein interaction assays.
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