Chloroplast NADPH-dependent thioredoxin reductase (NTRC) catalyzes the reduction of 2-Cys peroxiredoxin (2-Cys Prx) and, thus, probably functions as an antioxidant system. The functions of the enzyme in oxidative and salt stresses have been reported previously. We have previously identified and characterized NTRC in Chlorella vulgaris. In the present study, we isolated a full-length cDNA clone encoding 2-Cys Prx from C. vulgaris and investigated the involvement of Chlorella NTRC/2-Cys Prx system in several environmental stress tolerances by using yeast as a eukaryotic model. Deduced Chlorella 2-Cys Prx was homologous to those of chloroplast 2-Cys Prxs from plants, and two conserved cysteine residues were found in the deduced sequence. Enzyme assay showed that recombinant mature C. vulgaris NTRC (mCvNTRC) transferred electrons from NADPH to recombinant mature C. vulgaris 2-Cys Prx (mCvPrx), and mCvPrx decomposed hydrogen peroxide, tert-butyl hydroperoxide, and peroxynitrite by cooperating with mCvNTRC. Based on the results, the mCvNTRC/mCvPrx antioxidant system was identified in Chlorella. The antioxidant system genes were expressed in yeast separately or coordinately. Stress tolerances of yeast against freezing, heat, and menadione-induced oxidative stresses were significantly improved by expression of mCvNTRC, and the elevated tolerances were more significant when both mCvNTRC and mCvPrx were co-expressed. Our results reveal a novel feature of NTRC: it functions as an antioxidant system with 2-Cys Prx in freezing and heat stress tolerances.
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