Reference Work Entry

The Prokaryotes

pp 1074-1098

The Cyanobacteria—Ecology, Physiology and Molecular Genetics

  • Yehuda Cohen
  • , Michael Gurevitz


The cyanobacteria and prochloroaceae are the only prokaryotic groups that share the use of photosystems I and II and hence the ability to carry out oxygenic photosynthesis with all photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms (Stanier, 1977). The structure of the reaction center complexes seems to be evolutionarily conserved in all these organisms, but there is a large diversity in their antenna chlorophyll complexes (Glazer, 1983). Cyanobacteria are unique since they are also capable of anaerobic metabolism, and several groups among the cyanobacteria share with the prokaryotic anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria the ability to perform anoxygenic photosynthesis using reduced electron donors (Cohen et al., 1975a; Padan and Cohen, 1982; Cohen et al., 1986; de Wit and van Gemerden, 1989; Garcia-Pichel and Castenholz, 1990). They also share with many archaebacteria the ability to use elemental sulfur for anaerobic dark respiration (Oren and Shilo, 1979).

Cyanobacteria are a diverse group of ...

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