Subcellular Localization of Carotenoid Biosynthesis in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803

PLoS One. 2015 Jun 17;10(6):e0130904. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130904. eCollection 2015.


The biosynthesis pathway of carotenoids in cyanobacteria is partly described. However, the subcellular localization of individual steps is so far unknown. Carotenoid analysis of different membrane subfractions in Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 shows that "light" plasma membranes have a high carotenoid/protein ratio, when compared to "heavier" plasma membranes or thylakoids. The localization of CrtQ and CrtO, two well-defined carotenoid synthesis pathway enzymes in Synechocystis, was studied by epitope tagging and western blots. Both enzymes are locally more abundant in plasma membranes than in thylakoids, implying that the plasma membrane has higher synthesis rates of β-carotene precursor molecules and echinenone.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Biosynthetic Pathways
  • Carotenoids / biosynthesis*
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Subcellular Fractions
  • Synechocystis / growth & development
  • Synechocystis / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carotenoids

Grant support

This work was supported by grant M4080306 to BN from Nanyang Technological University (Singapore,, and grant CTS 08:354 to ES from Carl Tryggers Stiftelse ( The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.