Integration of carbon and nitrogen metabolism with energy production is crucial to light acclimation in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis

Plant Physiol. 2008 Sep;148(1):467-78. doi: 10.1104/pp.108.123489. Epub 2008 Jul 3.


Light drives the production of chemical energy and reducing equivalents in photosynthetic organisms required for the assimilation of essential nutrients. This process also generates strong oxidants and reductants that can be damaging to the cellular processes, especially during absorption of excess excitation energy. Cyanobacteria, like other oxygenic photosynthetic organisms, respond to increases in the excitation energy, such as during exposure of cells to high light (HL) by the reduction of antenna size and photosystem content. However, the mechanism of how Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, a cyanobacterium, maintains redox homeostasis and coordinates various metabolic processes under HL stress remains poorly understood. In this study, we have utilized time series transcriptome data to elucidate the global responses of Synechocystis to HL. Identification of differentially regulated genes involved in the regulation, protection, and maintenance of redox homeostasis has offered important insights into the optimized response of Synechocystis to HL. Our results indicate a comprehensive integrated homeostatic interaction between energy production (photosynthesis) and energy consumption (assimilation of carbon and nitrogen). In addition, measurements of physiological parameters under different growth conditions showed that integration between the two processes is not a consequence of limitations in the external carbon and nitrogen levels available to the cells. We have also discovered the existence of a novel glycosylation pathway, to date known as an important nutrient sensor only in eukaryotes. Up-regulation of a gene encoding the rate-limiting enzyme in the hexosamine pathway suggests a regulatory role for protein glycosylation in Synechocystis under HL.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization*
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Hexosamines / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Light*
  • Nitrogen / metabolism*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Photosynthesis
  • Signal Transduction
  • Synechocystis / genetics
  • Synechocystis / metabolism*


  • Hexosamines
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Nitrogen