Type 2 NADH dehydrogenases in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. Strain PCC 6803 are involved in regulation rather than respiration

Crispin A. Howitt, Pacer K. Udall, Willem Vermaas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Analysis of the genome of Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 reveals three open reading frames (slr0851, slr1743, and sll1484) that may code for type 2 NAD(P)H dehydrogenases (NDH-2). The sequence similarity between the translated open reading frames and NDH-2s from other organisms is low, generally not exceeding 30% identity. However, NAD(P)H and flavin adenine dinucleotide binding motifs are conserved in all three putative NDH-2s in Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803. The three open reading frames were cloned, and deletion constructs were made for each. An expression construct containing one of the three open reading frames, slr1743, was able to functionally complement an Escherichia coli mutant lacking both NDH-1s and NDH-2s. Therefore, slr0851, slr1743, and sll1484 have been designated ndbA, ndbB, and ndbC, respectively. Strains that lacked one or more of the ndb genes were created in wild-type and photosystem (PS) I-less backgrounds. Deletion of ndb genes led to small changes in photoautotrophic growth rates and respiratory activities. Electron transfer rates into the plastoquinone pool in thylakoids in darkness were consistent with the presence of a small amount of NDH-2 activity in thylakoids. No difference was observed between wild-type and the Ndb-less strains in the handing patterns seen on native gels when stained for either NADH or NADPH dehydrogenase activity, indicating that the Ndb proteins do not accumulate to high levels. A striking phenotype of the PS I-less background strains lacking one or more of the NDH-2s is that they were able to grow at high light intensities that were lethal to the control strain but they retained normal PS II activity. We suggest that the Ndb proteins in Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 are redox sensors and that they play a regulatory role responding to the redox state of the plastoquinone pool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3994-4003
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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