Photosystem II component lifetimes in the cyanobacterium synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803: Small Cab-like proteins stabilize biosynthesis intermediates and affect early steps in chlorophyll synthesis

Danny C I Yao, Daniel C. Brune, Dmitri Vavilin, Willem Vermaas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


To gain insight in the lifetimes of photosystem II (PSII) chlorophyll and proteins, a combined stable isotope labeling ( 15N)/ mass spectrometry method was used to follow both old and new pigments and proteins. Photosystem I-less Synechocystis cells were grown to exponential or post-exponential phase and then diluted in BG-11 medium with [ 15N]ammonium and [ 15N]nitrate. PSII was isolated, and the masses of PSII protein fragments and chlorophyll were determined. Lifetimes of PSII components ranged from 1.5 to 40 h, implying that at least some of the proteins and chlorophyll turned over independently from each other. Also, a significant amount of nascent PSII components accumulated in thylakoids when cells were in post-exponential growth phase. In a mutant lacking small Cab-like proteins (SCPs), most PSII protein lifetimes were unaffected, but the lifetime of chlorophyll and the amount of nascent PSII components that accumulated were decreased. In the absence of SCPs, one of the PSII biosynthesis intermediates, the monomeric PSII complex without CP43, was missing. Therefore, SCPs may stabilize nascent PSII protein complexes. Moreover, upon SCP deletion, the rate of chlorophyll synthesis and the accumulation of early tetrapyrrole precursors were drastically reduced. When [ 14N]aminolevulinic acid (ALA) was supplemented to 15N-BG-11 cultures, the mutant lacking SCPs incorporated much more exogenous ALA into chlorophyll than the control demonstrating that ALA biosynthesis was impaired in the absence of SCPs. This illustrates the major effects that nonstoichiometric PSII components such as SCPs have on intermediates and assembly but not on the lifetime of PSII proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)682-692
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this