Cyanobacterial glycogen-deficient mutants display impaired degradation of light-harvesting phycobilisomes under nitrogenlimiting growth conditions and secrete a suite of organic acids as a putative reductant-spilling mechanism. This genetic background, therefore, represents an important platform to better understand the complex relationships between light harvesting, photosynthetic electron transport, carbon fixation, and carbon/nitrogen metabolisms. In this study, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of the dynamics of photosynthesis as a function of reductant sink manipulation in a glycogen-deficient glgC mutant of Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002. The glgC mutant showed increased susceptibility to photoinhibition during the initial phase of nitrogen deprivation. However, after extended periods of nitrogen deprivation, glgC mutant cells maintained higher levels of photosynthetic activity than the wild type, supporting continuous organic acid secretion in the absence of biomass accumulation. In contrast to the wild type, the glgC mutant maintained efficient energy transfer from phycobilisomes to photosystem II (PSII) reaction centers, had an elevated PSII/PSI ratio as a result of reduced PSII degradation, and retained a nitrogen-repletetype ultrastructure, including an extensive thylakoid membrane network, after prolonged nitrogen deprivation. Together, these results suggest that multiple global signals for nitrogen deprivation are not activated in the glgC mutant, allowing the maintenance of active photosynthetic complexes under conditions where photosynthesis would normally be abolished.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology