Nicholas W. Gillham
James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Zoology

The objective of my collaborative research with Dr. John Boynton in the Department of Botany is to understand how nuclear and organelle genomes interact in controlling the biogenesis of chloroplasts and mitochondria. For many years we have used the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as a model experimental system. This alga has well developed chloroplast genetics. Mutations affecting either chloroplast or mitochondrial functions are viable under appropriate growth conditions. Our recent success in transforming the chloroplast genome of Chlamydomonas now allows us to determine the consequences in vivo of manipulating the chloroplast genes in vitro. Ongoing projects in our laboratory presently include: 1.Mutational analysis of the chloroplast psbA gene encoding the D-1 reaction center protein of photosystem II to examine the relationship between photoinhibition and photosynthetic performance. 2.Characterization of the interaction of proteins and rRNA domains of the small subunit of the chloroplast ribosome involved in translational efficiency and fidelity. 3.Translational regulation of chloroplast genes encoding photosynthetic and ribosomal proteins. 4.Molecular analysis of chloroplast recombination. 5.Genetic dissection of mechanisms responsible for the inheritance of chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes from opposite parents in crosses.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Contact Information

  • 038 Bio Sci, Durham, NC 27708
  • Box 0338, Durham, NC 27708-1000

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