Degradation of periplasmic proteins (Deg)/high temperature requirement A (HtrA) proteases are ATP-independent Ser endopeptidases that perform key aspects of protein quality control in all domains of life. Here, we characterized Chlamydomonas reinhardtii DEG1C, which together with DEG1A and DEG1B is orthologous to Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) Deg1 in the thylakoid lumen. We show that DEG1C is localized to the stroma and the periphery of thylakoid membranes. Purified DEG1C exhibited high proteolytic activity against unfolded model substrates and its activity increased with temperature and pH. DEG1C forms monomers, trimers, and hexamers that are in dynamic equilibrium. DEG1C protein levels increased upon nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus starvation; under heat, oxidative, and high light stress; and when Sec-mediated protein translocation was impaired. DEG1C depletion was not associated with any obvious aberrant phenotypes under nonstress conditions, high light exposure, or heat stress. However, quantitative shotgun proteomics revealed differences in the abundance of 307 proteins between a deg1c knock-out mutant and the wild type under nonstress conditions. Among the 115 upregulated proteins are PSII biogenesis factors, FtsH proteases, and proteins normally involved in high light responses, including the carbon dioxide concentrating mechanism, photorespiration, antioxidant defense, and photoprotection. We propose that the lack of DEG1C activity leads to a physiological state of the cells resembling that induced by high light intensities and therefore triggers high light protection responses.