Overlapping photoprotective function of vitamin E and carotenoids in Chlamydomonas.
Plant Physiol. 2012 Jan ;158(1):313-23. Epub 2011 Nov 11. PMID: 22080601
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.
Tocopherols (vitamin E) and carotenoids are the two most abundant groups of lipid-soluble antioxidants in the chloroplast. Carotenoids are well known for their roles in protecting against photooxidative stress, whereas the photoprotective functions of tocopherols have only recently been examined experimentally. In addition, little is known about the functional overlap of carotenoids and tocopherols in vivo. To investigate this possible overlap, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii strains were engineered to overproduce tocopherols by chloroplast transformation with non-codon-optimized and codon-optimized versions of the homogentisate phytyltransferase vitamin E2 (VTE2) from Synechocystis and by nuclear transformation with VTE2 from C. reinhardtii, which resulted in 1.6-fold, 5-fold to 10-fold, and more than 10-fold increases in total tocopherol content, respectively. To test if tocopherol overproduction can compensate for carotenoid deficiency in terms of antioxidant function, the nuclear VTE2 gene from C. reinhardtii was overexpressed in the npq1 lor1 double mutant, which lacks zeaxanthin and lutein. Following transfer to high light, the npq1 lor1 strains that overaccumulated tocopherols showed increased resistance for up to 2 d and higher efficiency of photosystem II, and they were also much more resistant to other oxidative stresses. These results suggest an overlapping functions of tocopherols and carotenoids in protection against photooxidative stress.