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.

The intensity and the spectral quality of light in the environment changes, sometimes very rapidly, with the seasons, the time of day or the weather. Many regulatory mechanisms are involved in the short-term adjustment of the photosynthetic machinery to changing light. We investigate the regulation of light harvesting, and in particular a network of conserved protein kinases and phosphatases that are involved in light acclimation, both in Chlamydomonas and in Arabidopsis.


Recent Publications

  • A microalgal-based preparation with synergistic cellulolytic and detoxifying action towards chemical-treated lignocellulose
    Benedetti, Manuel; Barera, Simone; Longoni, Paolo; Guardini, Zeno; Garcia, Natalia Herrero; et al.
    Plant Biotechnology Journal  DOI: 10.1111/pbi.13447  SEP 2020
  • Regulation of Light Harvesting in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii: Two Protein Phosphatases Are Involved in State Transitions
    Cariti, Federica; Chazaux, Marie; Lefebvre-Legendre, Linnka; Longoni, Paolo; Ghysels, Bart; et al.
    Plant Physiology   DOI: 10.1104/pp.20.00384    AUG 2020
  • Growth Temperature Influence on Lipids and Photosynthesis in Lepidium sativum
    Sattari Vayghan, Hamed; Tavalaei, Shahrzad; Grillon, Armand; Meyer, Lea; Ballabani, Gent; et al.
    Frontiers In Plant Science   DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2020.00745    JUN 4 2020
  • The Kinase STATE TRANSITION 8 Phosphorylates Light Harvesting Complex II and Contributes to Light Acclimation in Arabidopsis thaliana
    Longoni, P; Samol, I; Goldschmidt-Clermont, M
    Frontiers in Plant Science, 10 10.3389/fpls.2019.01156 SEP 19 2019
  • 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
    Proceedings 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
Michel Goldschmidt-Clermont Uni Geneva

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

Tel: +41 (0)22 379 61 88

Research topics

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



  • EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network “AccliPhot” (GA-2012-316427)
  • EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network “CALIPSO” (GA-2013-607607)