Expression of the [FeFe] hydrogenase in the chloroplast of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Kiera Reifschneider-Wegner, Andrey Kanygin, Kevin Redding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Biological hydrogen generation from phototrophic organisms is a promising source of renewable fuel. The nuclear-expressed [FeFe] hydrogenase from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has an extremely high turnover rate, and so has been a target of intense research. Here, we demonstrate that a codon-optimized native hydrogenase can be successfully expressed in the chloroplast. We also demonstrate a curiously strong negative selective pressure resulting from unregulated hydrogenase expression in this location, and discuss management of its expression with a vitamin-controlled gene repression system. To the best of our knowledge, this represents the first example of a nuclear-expressed, chloroplast-localized metalloprotein being synthesized in situ. Control of this process opens up several bioengineering possibilities for the production of biohydrogen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3657-3665
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Mar 6 2014


  • Chlamydomonas
  • Chloroplast
  • Gene expression
  • Green algae
  • [FeFe] hydrogenase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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