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Regulation of PSII function in Cyanothece sp. ATCC 51142 during a light–dark cycle

Sicora, Cosmin Ionel, Chiș, Iuliana, Chiș, Ciprian, Sicora, Oana
Photosynthesis research 2019 v.139 no.1-3 pp. 461-473
Chlorophyta, Cyanothece, D1 protein, dissociation, enzyme activity, genes, nitrogen, nitrogenase, oxidation, photoperiod, photosystem II, protein synthesis
Cyanobacteria, as well as green algae and higher plants, have highly conserved photosynthetic machinery. Cyanothece sp. ATCC 51142 is a unicellular, aerobic, diazotrophic cyanobacterium that fixes N₂ in the dark. In Cyanothece, the psbA gene family is composed of five members, encoding different isoforms of the D1 protein. A new D1 protein has been postulated in the literature, which blocks PSII during the night and allows the fixation of nitrogen. We present data showing changes in PSII function in cells grown in cycles alternating between 12 h of light and dark, respectively, at Cyanothece sp. ATCC 51142. Cyanothece sp. ATCC 51142 uses intrinsic mechanisms to protect its nitrogenase activity in a two-stage process. In Stage I, immediately after the onset of darkness, the cells lose photosynthetic activity in a reversible process, probably by dissociation of water oxidation complex from photosystem II via a mechanism that does not require de novo protein synthesis. In Stage II, a more severe disruption of photosystem II function occurs is in part protein synthesis dependent and it could be a functional signature of the presence of sentinel D1 in a limited number of reaction centers still active or not yet inactivated by the mechanism described in Stage I. This process of inhibition uses light as a triggering signal for both the inhibition of photosynthetic activity and recovery when light returns. The intrinsic mechanism of photosynthetic inactivation during darkness with the interplay of the two mechanisms requires further studies.