The fine structure of the ac-20 strain of Chlamydomonas reinhardi is described. Cells grown mixotrophically in the presence of acetate have a highly disordered chloroplast membrane organization and usually lack pyrenoids. Chloroplast ribosome levels are only 5–10% of wild-type levels. Cells grown phototrophically without acetate possess more chloroplast ribosomes and have more normal membrane and pyrenoid organization. Chloroplast ribosome levels rise rapidly when cells are transferred from acetate to minimal medium, whereas membrane reorganization occurs only after a lag. These results, combined with earlier studies of the photosynthetic properties of the mutant strain, suggest that proper membrane organization, Photosystem II activity, and ribulose-1,5-diphosphate carboxylase formation are dependent on the presence of chloroplast ribosomes. Other chloroplast components tested are unaffected by a 10-fold reduction in levels of chloroplast ribosomes.

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