Suppressor mutations in the study of photosystem I biogenesis: sll0088 is a previously unidentified gene involved in reaction center accumulation in Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803

Jianping Yu, Gaozhong Shen, Tao Wang, Donald A. Bryant, John H. Golbeck, Lee McIntosh

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In previous work, some members of our group isolated mutant strains of Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 in which point mutations had been inserted into the psaC gene to alter the cysteine residues to the FA and FB iron-sulfur clusters in the PsaC subunit of photosystem I (J. P. Yu, I. R. Vassiliev, Y. S. Jung, J. H. Golbeck, and L. McIntosh, J. Biol. Chem. 272:8032-8039, 1997). These mutant strains did not grow photoautotrophically due to suppressed levels of chlorophyll a and photosystem I. In the results described here, we show that suppressor mutations produced strains that are capable of photoautotrophic growth at moderate light intensity (20 μmol m-2 s-1). Two separate suppressor strains of C14SPsaC, termed C14SPsaC-R62 and C14SPsaC-R18, were studied and found to have mutations in a previously uncharacterized open reading frame of the Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 genome named sll0088. C14SPsaC-R62 was found to substitute Pro for Arg at residue 161 as the result of a G482→C change in sll0088, and C14SPsaC-R18 was found to have a three-amino-acid insertion of Gly-Tyr-Phe following Cys231 as the result of a TGGTTATTT duplication at T690 in sll0088. These suppressor strains showed near-wild-type levels of chlorophyll a and photosystem I, yet the serine oxygen ligand to FB was retained as shown by the retention of the S ≥ 3/2 spin state of the [4Fe-4S] cluster. The inactivation of sll0088 by insertion of a kanamycin resistance cartridge in the primary C14SPsaC mutant produced an engineered suppressor strain capable of photoautotrophic growth. There was no difference in psaC gene expression or in the amount of PsaC protein assembled in thylakoids between the wild type and an sll0088 deletion mutant. The sll0088 gene encodes a protein predicted to be a transcriptional regulator with sequence similarities to transcription factors in other prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms, including Arabidopsis thaliana. The protein contains a typical helix-turn-helix DNA-binding motif and can be classified as a negative regulator by phylogenetic analysis. This suggests that the product of sll0088 has a role in regulating the biogenesis of photosystem I.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3878-3887
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2003


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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