Multiple light inputs control phototaxis in Synechocystis sp. strain PCC6803

J Bacteriol. 2003 Mar;185(5):1599-607. doi: 10.1128/JB.185.5.1599-1607.2003.


The phototactic behavior of individual cells of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC6803 was studied with a glass slide-based phototaxis assay. Data from fluence rate-response curves and action spectra suggested that there were at least two light input pathways regulating phototaxis. We observed that positive phototaxis in wild-type cells was a low fluence response, with peak spectral sensitivity at 645 and 704 nm. This red-light-induced phototaxis was inhibited or photoreversible by infrared light (760 nm). Previous work demonstrated that a taxD1 mutant (Cyanobase accession no. sll0041; also called pisJ1) lacked positive but maintained negative phototaxis. Therefore, the TaxD1 protein, which has domains that are similar to sequences found in both bacteriophytochrome and the methyl-accepting chemoreceptor protein, is likely to be the photoreceptor that mediates positive phototaxis. Wild-type cells exhibited negative phototaxis under high-intensity broad-spectrum light. This phenomenon is predominantly blue light responsive, with a maximum sensitivity at approximately 470 nm. A weakly negative phototactic response was also observed in the spectral region between 600 and 700 nm. A deltataxD1 mutant, which exhibits negative phototaxis even under low-fluence light, has a similar action maximum in the blue region of the spectrum, with minor peaks from green to infrared (500 to 740 nm). These results suggest that while positive phototaxis is controlled by the red light photoreceptor TaxD1, negative phototaxis in Synechocystis sp. strain PCC6803 is mediated by one or more (as yet) unidentified blue light photoreceptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cyanobacteria / physiology*
  • Glass
  • Infrared Rays
  • Light
  • Mutation
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Photobiology / methods
  • Photoreceptors, Microbial / genetics
  • Photoreceptors, Microbial / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Photoreceptors, Microbial