Cyanobacterial psbA gene family: optimization of oxygenic photosynthesis

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2009 Dec;66(23):3697-710. doi: 10.1007/s00018-009-0103-6. Epub 2009 Jul 31.


The D1 protein of Photosystem II (PSII), encoded by the psbA genes, is an indispensable component of oxygenic photosynthesis. Due to strongly oxidative chemistry of PSII water splitting, the D1 protein is prone to constant photodamage requiring its replacement, whereas most of the other PSII subunits remain ordinarily undamaged. In cyanobacteria, the D1 protein is encoded by a psbA gene family, whose members are differentially expressed according to environmental cues. Here, the regulation of the psbA gene expression is first discussed with emphasis on the model organisms Synechococcus sp. and Synechocystis sp. Then, a general classification of cyanobacterial D1 isoforms in various cyanobacterial species into D1m, D1:1, D1:2, and D1' forms depending on their expression pattern under acclimated growth conditions and upon stress is discussed, taking into consideration the phototolerance of different D1 forms and the expression conditions of respective members of the psbA gene family.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophages / genetics
  • Bacteriophages / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Photosynthesis / physiology*
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex / genetics
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex / metabolism
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex / physiology*
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Protein Isoforms / physiology
  • Synechococcus / genetics*
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism
  • Viral Proteins / physiology


  • Photosystem II Protein Complex
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Viral Proteins
  • photosystem II, psbA subunit
  • Oxygen