The unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has been used as a model organism for many decades, mainly to study photosynthesis and flagella/cilia. Only recently, Chlamydomonas has received much attention because of its ability to produce hydrogen and nonpolar lipids that have promise as biofuels. The best-studied multicellular cousin of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is Volvox carteri, whose life cycle comprises events that have clear parallels in higher plants and/or animals, making it an excellent system in which to study fundamental developmental processes. Molecular chaperones are proteins that guide other cellular proteins through their life cycle. They assist in de novo folding of nascent chains, mediate assembly and disassembly of protein complexes, facilitate protein transport across membranes, disassemble protein aggregates, fold denatured proteins back to the native state, and transfer unfoldable proteins to proteolytic degradation. Hence, molecular chaperones regulate protein function under all growth conditions and play important roles in many basic cellular and developmental processes. The aim of this chapter is to describe recent advances toward understanding molecular chaperone biology in Chlamydomonas and Volvox.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.