Phytochrome assembly in living cells of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Liming Li*, J. Clark Lagarias

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The biological activity of the plant photoreceptor phytochrome requires the specific association of a linear tetrapyrrole prosthetic group with a large apoprotein. As an initial step to develop an in vivo assay system for structure-function analysis of the phytochrome photoreceptor, we undertook experiments to reconstitute holophytochrome in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here we show that yeast cells expressing recombinant oat apophytochrome A can take up exogenous linear tetrapyrroles, and, in a time- dependent manner, these pigments combine with the apoprotein to form photoactive holophytochrome in situ. Cell viability measurements indicate that holophytochrome assembly occurs in living cells. Unlike phytochrome A in higher plant tissue, which is rapidly degraded upon photoactivation, the reconstituted photoreceptor appears to be light stable in yeast. Reconstitution of photoactive phytochrome in yeast cells should enable us to exploit the power of yeast genetics for structure-function dissection of this important plant photoreceptor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12535-12539
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Dec 20 1994


  • in vivo reconstitution
  • linear tetrapyrrole
  • plant photoreceptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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