Ferredoxin C2 is required for chlorophyll biosynthesis and accumulation of photosynthetic antennae in Arabidopsis.

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Ferredoxins (Fd) are small iron-sulphur proteins, with sub-types that have evolved for specific redox functions. Ferredoxin C2 (FdC2) proteins are essential Fd homologues conserved in all photosynthetic organisms and a number of different FdC2 functions have been proposed in angiosperms. Here we use RNAi silencing in Arabidopsis thaliana to generate a viable fdC2 mutant line with near-depleted FdC2 protein levels. Mutant leaves have ~50% less chlorophyll a and b, and chloroplasts have poorly developed thylakoid membrane structure. Transcriptomics indicates upregulation of genes involved in stress responses. Although fdC2 antisense plants show increased damage at photosystem II (PSII) when exposed to high light, PSII recovers at the same rate as wild type in the dark. This contradicts literature proposing that FdC2 regulates translation of the D1 subunit of PSII, by binding to psbA transcript. Measurement of chlorophyll biosynthesis intermediates revealed a build-up of Mg-protoporphyrin IX, the substrate of the aerobic cyclase. We localise FdC2 to the inner chloroplast envelope and show that the FdC2 RNAi line has a disproportionately lower protein abundance of antennae proteins, which are nuclear-encoded and must be refolded at the envelope after import.