The Phycobilisomes: An Early Requisite for Efficient Photosynthesis in Cyanobacteria

EXCLI J. 2015 Feb 20;14:268-89. doi: 10.17179/excli2014-723. eCollection 2015.


Cyanobacteria trap light energy by arrays of pigment molecules termed "phycobilisomes (PBSs)", organized proximal to "reaction centers" at which chlorophyll perform the energy transduction steps with highest quantum efficiency. PBSs, composed of sequential assembly of various chromophorylated phycobiliproteins (PBPs), as well as nonchromophoric, basic and hydrophobic polypeptides called linkers. Atomic resolution structure of PBP is a heterodimer of two structurally related polypeptides but distinct specialised polypeptides- a and ß, made up of seven alpha-helices each which played a crucial step in evolution of PBPs. PBPs carry out various light dependent responses such as complementary chromatic adaptation. The aim of this review is to summarize and discuss the recent progress in this field and to highlight the new and the questions that remain unresolved.

Keywords: chromophores; complementary chromatic adaptation; linker polypeptide; phycobiliproteins; protein.