Dark-grown cells of the y-1 mutant of Chlamydomonas reinhardi contain a partially differentiated plastid lacking the photosynthetic lamellar system. When exposed to the light, a rapid synthesis of photosynthetic membranes occurs accompanied by synthesis of chlorophyll, lipids, and protein and extensive degradation of the starch reserve. The process is continuously dependent on illumination and is completed within 6–8 hr in the absence of cell division. Photosynthetic activity (O2 evolution, Hill reaction, NADP photo-reduction, and cytochrome f photooxidation) parallels the synthesis of pigment and membrane formation. During the greening process, only slight changes occur in the levels of soluble enzymes associated with the photosynthetic process (RuDP-carboxylase, NADP-linked G-3-P dehydrogenase, alkaline FDPase (pH 8)) as compared with the dark control. Also cytochrome f concentration remains almost constant during the greening process. The kinetics of the synthesis of chlorophyll, formation of photosynthetic membranes, and the restoration of photosynthetic activity suggest that the membranes are assembled from their constituents in a single-step process.

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