Photoinduction of Massive beta-Carotene Accumulation by the Alga Dunaliella bardawil: Kinetics and Dependence on Gene Activation

Lers, A.; Biener, Y.; Zamir, A.

Plant Physiology 93(2): 389-395


ISSN/ISBN: 0032-0889
PMID: 16667478
DOI: 10.1104/pp.93.2.389
Accession: 013172067

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The massive accumulation of beta-carotene by the halotolerant micro alga Dunaliella bardawil, in response to high light intensity and several other environmental factors, has been studied so far under different sets of fixed conditions. To determine the kinetics and characteristics of the induction of beta-carotene accumulation, cells continuously grown under white light of approximately 27 microeinsteins per square meter per second were exposed to light of approximately 1650 microeinsteins per square meter per second. The exposed cells accumulate beta-carotene in two stages: the first stage, lasting for 24 hours, starts shortly after exposure, whereas the second stage starts concomitantly with the onset of the stationary phase and persists until the cells collapse. Actinomycin D, chloramphenicol, or cycloheximide added to low-illuminated cultures abolish the subsequent induction of beta-carotene accumulation by high light intensity. These results, together with the early exponential kinetics of accumulation, point to the role of gene activation in the process. In vivo labeling of proteins and in vitro translation of poly(A)(+) mRNA revealed several pronounced differences between low-illuminated and high-illuminated cells. A strongly light-induced protein of approximately 55 kilodaltons, as well as other light-induced proteins could possibly fulfill a carotenogenic function.