The Pyrenoid Is the Site of Ribulose 1,5-Bisphosphate Carboxylase/Oxygenase Accumulation in the Hornwort (Bryophyta: Anthocerotae) Chloroplast

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Chloroplasts of many species of hornworts (Anthocerotae) have a structure that resembles the pyrenoid of green algae but whether these two structures are homologous has not been determined. We utilized immunogold labelling on thin sections to determine the distribution of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO), the major protein of algal pyrenoids, in sixteen hornwort species with and without pyrenoids. Several species (Phaeoceros laevis, Anthoceros punctatus, A. formosae, A. laminiferus, Folioceros fuciformis, Folioceros sp., Dendroceros tubercularis, D. japonicus, D. validus, Notothylas orbicularis, N. temperata, and Spaerosporoceros adscendens) have uniplastidic (or primarily uniplastidic) cells with large prominent multiple pyrenoids. In all of these species, the labelling is found exclusively in the pyrenoid and, with the exception of the Folioceros, Dendroceros, and Notothylas species, the labelling is randomly distributed throughout the pyrenoid. In the exceptional species, the pyrenoids have prominent pyrenoglobuli or other inclusions that are unlabelled. In Megaceros flagellaris and M. longispirus, the cells are multiplastidic (with the exception of the apical cell and some epidermal cells) and the chloroplasts lack pyrenoids. Anthoceros fusiformis and Phaeoceros coriaceus have primarily uniplastidic cells but the chloroplasts lack pyrenoids; only an area of stroma in the center of the plastid devoid of starch, reminiscent of a pyrenoid, is found. In all of the species lacking pyrenoids, RuBisCo is found throughout the stroma, including the stromal spaces made by the so-called channel thylakoids. No preferential accumulation of RuBisCo is found in the pyrenoid-like region in A. fusiformis and P. coriaceus. These data indicate that 1) the hornwort pyrenoid is homologous to algal pyrenoids in the presence of RuBisCo; 2) that at least some of the RuBisCo in the pyrenoid must represent an active form of the enzyme; and 3) that, in the absence of pyrenoids, the RuBisCo is distributed throughout the stroma, as in higher plants.