Far-red light photoacclimation (FaRLiP) in Synechococcus sp. PCC 7335: I. Regulation of FaRLiP gene expression

Ming Yang Ho, Fei Gan, Gaozhong Shen, Chi Zhao, Donald A. Bryant

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49 Scopus citations


Far-red light photoacclimation (FaRLiP) is a mechanism that allows some cyanobacteria to utilize far-red light (FRL) for oxygenic photosynthesis. During FaRLiP, cyanobacteria remodel photosystem (PS) I, PS II, and phycobilisomes while synthesizing Chl d, Chl f, and far-red-absorbing phycobiliproteins, and these changes enable these organisms to use FRL for growth. In this study, a conjugation-based genetic system was developed for Synechococcus sp. PCC 7335. Three antibiotic cassettes were successfully used to generate knockout mutations in genes in Synechococcus sp. PCC 7335, which should allow up to three gene loci to be modified in one strain. This system was used to delete the rfpA, rfpB, and rfpC genes individually, and characterization of the mutants demonstrated that these genes control the expression of the FaRLiP gene cluster in Synechococcus sp. PCC 7335. The mutant strains exhibited some surprising differences from similar mutants in other FaRLiP strains. Notably, mutations in any of the three master transcription regulatory genes led to enhanced synthesis of phycocyanin and PS II. A time-course study showed that acclimation of the photosynthetic apparatus from that produced in white light to that produced in FRL occurs very slowly over a period 12–14 days in this strain and that it is associated with a substantial reduction (~34 %) in the chlorophyll a content of the cells. This study shows that there are differences in the detailed responses of cyanobacteria to growth in FRL in spite of the obvious similarities in the organization and regulation of the FaRLiP gene cluster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-186
Number of pages14
JournalPhotosynthesis research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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