Chloroplast biogenesis and light acclimation

Genetics of Photosynthesis

Chloroplasts are organelles of the plant cell that specialize in photosynthesis. In this process, light energy from the sun is converted into chemical energy in the form of sugars and other compounds that feed the plant and indirectly fuel most of the biosphere. Chloroplast biogenesis is governed by two genomes, in the nucleus and in the organelles. Thus gene expression in the two compartments has to be tightly coordinated to ensure the assembly of the photosynthetic machinery and its acclimation to the environment, particularly to light.

Our genetic studies with the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas have revealed many nucleus-encoded factors which are imported into the chloroplast where they play very specific roles in post-transcriptional steps of chloroplast gene expression such as RNA splicing, RNA processing and translation. We are also investigating a regulatory network of conserved protein kinases and phosphatases that are involved in light acclimation in Chlamydomonas and Arabidopsis.


Recent Publications

  • Coping with 'Dark Sides of the Sun' through Photoreceptor Signaling 
    Demarsy, Emilie; Goldschmidt-Clermont, Michel; Ulm, Roman 
    TRENDS IN PLANT SCIENCE, 23 (3):260-271; MAR 2018
  • A systems-wide understanding of photosynthetic acclimation in algae and higher plants 
    Moejes, FW; Matuszynska, A; Adhikari, K; Bassi, R; Cariti, F; Cogne, G; Dikaios, I; Falciatore, A; Finazzi, G; Flori, S; Goldschmidt-Clermont, M; Magni, S; Maguire, J; Le Monnier, A; Muller, K; Poolman, M; Singh, D; Spelberg, S; Stella, GR; Succurro, A; Taddei, L; Urbain, B; Villanova, V; Zabke, C; Ebenhoh, O
    JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BOTANY, 68 (11): 2667-2681 10.1093/jxb/erx137 2017
  • Comparison of transplastomic Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Nicotiana tabacum expression system for the production of a bacterial endoglucanase
    Fae, M; Accossato, S; Cella, R; Fontana, F; Goldschmidt-Clermont, M; Leelavathi, S; Reddy, VS; Longoni, P
    APPLIED MICROBIOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY 101(10):4085-4092   10.1007/s00253-017-8164-1 MAY 2017
  • UV-B photoreceptor-mediated protection of the photosynthetic machinery in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii 
    Allorent, G; Lefebvre-Legendre, L; Chappuis, R; Kuntz, M; Truong, TB; Niyogi, KK; Ulm, R; Goldschmidt-Clermont, M
    ROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 113 (51): 14864-14869, 10.1073/pnas.1607695114  2016
  • A Nucleus-Encoded Chloroplast Phosphoprotein Governs Expression of the Photosystem I Subunit PsaC in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
    Douchi, D; Qu, Y; Longoni, P; Legendre-Lefebvre, L; Johnson, X; Schmitz-Linneweber, C; Goldschmidt-Clermont, M
    PLANT CELL 28(5):1182-1199  10.1105/tpc.15.00725 MAY 2016
Goldschmidt-Clermont Michel

Prof. Dr. Michel Goldschmidt-Clermont
University of Geneva
Department of Botany and Plant Biology
1211 Geneva

Tel: +41 (0)22 379 61 88

Research topics

  • Chloroplast RNA splicing and processing, translation
  • Nucleus-encoded factors involved in chloroplast gene expression
  • Light acclimation and state transitions
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Chloroplast genetic engineering



  • “Plant Growth in a changing environment”
  • NCCR “Plant Survival”
  • NRP59 “Benefits and Risks of the Deliberate Release of Genetically Modified Plants”
  • FP7-KBBE-2009-3: “SUNBIOPATH”