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1.  Inactivation of Genes Encoding Plastoglobulin-Like Proteins in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 Leads to a Light-Sensitive Phenotype▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(6):1700-1709.
Plastoglobulins (PGL) are the predominant proteins of lipid globules in the plastids of flowering plants. Genes encoding proteins similar to plant PGL are also present in algae and cyanobacteria but in no other organisms, suggesting an important role for these proteins in oxygenic photosynthesis. To gain an understanding of the core and fundamental function of PGL, the two genes that encode PGL-like polypeptides in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 (pgl1 and pgl2) were inactivated individually and in combination. The resulting mutants were able to grow under photoautotrophic conditions, dividing at rates that were comparable to that of the wild-type (WT) under low-light (LL) conditions (10 microeinsteins·m−2·s−1) but lower than that of the WT under moderately high-irradiance (HL) conditions (150 microeinsteins·m−2·s−1). Under HL, each Δpgl mutant had less chlorophyll, a lower photosystem I (PSI)/PSII ratio, more carotenoid per unit of chlorophyll, and very much more myxoxanthophyll (a carotenoid symptomatic of high light stress) per unit of chlorophyll than the WT. Large, heterogeneous inclusion bodies were observed in cells of mutants inactivated in pgl2 or both pgl2 and pgl1 under both LL and HL conditions. The mutant inactivated in both pgl genes was especially sensitive to the light environment, with alterations in pigmentation, heterogeneous inclusion bodies, and a lower PSI/PSII ratio than the WT even for cultures grown under LL conditions. The WT cultures grown under HL contained 2- to 3-fold more PGL1 and PGL2 per cell than cultures grown under LL conditions. These and other observations led us to conclude that the PGL-like polypeptides of Synechocystis play similar but not identical roles in some process relevant to the repair of photooxidative damage.
PMCID: PMC2832526  PMID: 20081034
2.  Carotenoid Biosynthesis in the Primitive Red Alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae▿  
Eukaryotic Cell  2006;6(3):533-545.
Cyanidioschyzon merolae is considered to be one of the most primitive of eukaryotic photosynthetic organisms. To obtain insights into the origin and evolution of the pathway of carotenoid biosynthesis in eukaryotic plants, the carotenoid content of C. merolae was ascertained, genes encoding enzymes of carotenoid biosynthesis in this unicellular red alga were identified, and the activities of two candidate pathway enzymes of particular interest, lycopene cyclase and β-carotene hydroxylase, were examined. C. merolae contains perhaps the simplest assortment of chlorophylls and carotenoids found in any eukaryotic photosynthetic organism: chlorophyll a, β-carotene, and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids with ɛ-rings (e.g., lutein), found in many other red algae and in green algae and land plants, were not detected, and the lycopene cyclase of C. merolae quite specifically produced only β-ringed carotenoids when provided with lycopene as the substrate in Escherichia coli. Lycopene β-ring cyclases from several bacteria, cyanobacteria, and land plants also proved to be high-fidelity enzymes, whereas the structurally related ɛ-ring cyclases from several plant species were found to be less specific, yielding products with β-rings as well as ɛ-rings. C. merolae lacks orthologs of genes that encode the two types of β-carotene hydroxylase found in land plants, one a nonheme diiron oxygenase and the other a cytochrome P450. A C. merolae chloroplast gene specifies a polypeptide similar to members of a third class of β-carotene hydroxylases, common in cyanobacteria, but this gene did not produce an active enzyme when expressed in E. coli. The identity of the C. merolae β-carotene hydroxylase therefore remains uncertain.
PMCID: PMC1828917  PMID: 17085635
3.  Inactivation of sll1556 in Synechocystis Strain PCC 6803 Impairs Isoprenoid Biosynthesis from Pentose Phosphate Cycle Substrates In Vitro 
Journal of Bacteriology  2004;186(14):4685-4693.
In cyanobacteria many compounds, including chlorophylls, carotenoids, and hopanoids, are synthesized from the isoprenoid precursors isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) and dimethylallyl diphosphate. Isoprenoid biosynthesis in extracts of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis strain PCC 6803 grown under photosynthetic conditions, stimulated by pentose phosphate cycle substrates, does not appear to require methylerythritol phosphate pathway intermediates. The sll1556 gene, distantly related to type 2 IPP isomerase genes, was disrupted by insertion of a Kanr cassette. The mutant was fully viable under photosynthetic conditions although impaired in the utilization of pentose phosphate cycle substrates. Compared to the parental strain the Δsll1556 mutant (i) is deficient in isoprenoid biosynthesis in vitro with substrates including glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate, fructose-6-phosphate, and glucose-6-phosphate; (ii) has smaller cells (diameter ca. 13% less); (iii) has fewer thylakoids (ca. 30% less); and (iv) has a more extensive fibrous outer wall layer. Isoprenoid biosynthesis is restored with pentose phosphate cycle substrates plus the recombinant Sll1556 protein in the Δsll1556 supernatant fraction. IPP isomerase activity could not be demonstrated for the purified Sll1556 protein under our in vitro conditions. The reduction of thylakoid area and the effect on outer wall layer components are consistent with an impairment of isoprenoid biosynthesis in the mutant, possibly via hopanoid biosynthesis. Our findings are consistent with an alternate metabolic shunt for biosynthesis of isoprenoids.
PMCID: PMC438581  PMID: 15231801
4.  Isoprenoid Biosynthesis in Synechocystis sp. Strain PCC6803 Is Stimulated by Compounds of the Pentose Phosphate Cycle but Not by Pyruvate or Deoxyxylulose-5-Phosphate 
Journal of Bacteriology  2002;184(18):5045-5051.
The photosynthetic cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC6803 possesses homologs of known genes of the non-mevalonate 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol 2-phosphate (MEP) pathway for synthesis of isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) and dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP). Isoprenoid biosynthesis in extracts of this cyanobacterium, measured by incorporation of radiolabeled IPP, was not stimulated by pyruvate, an initial substrate of the MEP pathway in Escherichia coli, or by deoxyxylulose-5-phosphate, the first pathway intermediate in E. coli. However, high rates of IPP incorporation were obtained with addition of dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP) and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate (GA3P), as well as a variety of pentose phosphate cycle compounds. Fosmidomycin (at 1 μM and 1 mM), an inhibitor of deoxyxylulose-5-phosphate reductoisomerase, did not significantly inhibit phototrophic growth of the cyanobacterium, nor did it affect [14C]IPP incorporation stimulated by DHAP plus GA3P. To date, it has not been possible to unequivocally demonstrate IPP isomerase activity in this cyanobacterium. The combined results suggest that the MEP pathway, as described for E. coli, is not the primary path by which isoprenoids are synthesized under photosynthetic conditions in Synechocystis sp. strain PCC6803. Our data support alternative routes of entry of pentose phosphate cycle substrates derived from photosynthesis.
PMCID: PMC135332  PMID: 12193620
5.  Evidence of a Role for LytB in the Nonmevalonate Pathway of Isoprenoid Biosynthesis 
Journal of Bacteriology  2000;182(20):5841-5848.
It is proposed that the lytB gene encodes an enzyme of the deoxyxylulose-5-phosphate (DOXP) pathway that catalyzes a step at or subsequent to the point at which the pathway branches to form isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) and dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP). A mutant of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis strain PCC 6803 with an insertion in the promoter region of lytB grew slowly and produced greenish-yellow, easily bleached colonies. Insertions in the coding region of lytB were lethal. Supplementation of the culture medium with the alcohol analogues of IPP and DMAPP (3-methyl-3-buten-1-ol and 3-methyl-2-buten-1-ol) completely alleviated the growth impairment of the mutant. The Synechocystis lytB gene and a lytB cDNA from the flowering plant Adonis aestivalis were each found to significantly enhance accumulation of carotenoids in Escherichia coli engineered to produce these colored isoprenoid compounds. When combined with a cDNA encoding deoxyxylulose-5-phosphate synthase (dxs), the initial enzyme of the DOXP pathway, the individual salutary effects of lytB and dxs were multiplied. In contrast, the combination of lytB and a cDNA encoding IPP isomerase (ipi) was no more effective in enhancing carotenoid accumulation than ipi alone, indicating that the ratio of IPP and DMAPP produced via the DOXP pathway is influenced by LytB.
PMCID: PMC94708  PMID: 11004185

Results 1-7 (7)