A strain of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 without photosynthetic oxygen evolution and respiratory oxygen consumption: Implications for the study of cyclic photosynthetic electron transport

Crispin A. Howitt, Jason W. Cooley, Joseph T. Wiskich, Willem Vermaas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cyclic electron transport around photosystem (PS) I is believed to play a role in generation of ATP required for adaptation to stress in cyanobacteria and plants. However, elucidation of the pathway(s) of cyclic electron flow is difficult because of low rates of this electron flow relative to those of linear photosynthetic and respiratory electron transport. We have constructed a strain of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 that lacks both PSII and respiratory oxidases and that, consequently, neither evolves nor consumes oxygen. However, this strain is still capable of cyclic electron flow around PSI. The photoheterotrophic growth rate of this strain increased with light intensity up to an intensity of about 25 μmol photons m-2 s-1, supporting the notion that cyclic electron flow contributes to ATP generation in this strain. Indeed, the ATP-generating ability of PSI is demonstrated by the fact that the PSII-less oxidase-less strain is able to grow at much higher salt concentrations than a strain lacking PSI. A quinone electrode was used to measure the redox state of the plastoquinone pool in vivo in the various strains used in this study. In contrast to what is observed in chloroplasts, the plastoquinone pool was rather reduced in darkness and was oxidized in the light. This is in line with significant electron donation by respiratory pathways (NADPH dehydrogenase and particularly succinate dehydrogenase) in darkness. In the light, the pool becomes oxidized due to the presence of much more PSI than PSII. In the oxidase-less strains, the plastoquinone pool was very much reduced in darkness and was oxidized in the light by PSI. Photosystem II activity did not greatly alter the redox state of the plastoquinone pool. The results suggest that cyclic electron flow around PSI can contribute to generation of ATP, and a strain deficient in linear electron transport pathways provides an excellent model for further investigations of cyclic electron flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-56
Number of pages11
JournalPlanta
Volume214
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

Keywords

  • Cyclic electron flow
  • Photosystem
  • Plastoquinone pool
  • Quinone electrode
  • Respiratory electron transport
  • Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

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