Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 117, Issue 1–3, pp 133–146 | Cite as

CO2-concentrating mechanism in cyanobacterial photosynthesis: organization, physiological role, and evolutionary origin

  • Elena V. Kupriyanova
  • Maria A. Sinetova
  • Sung Mi Cho
  • Youn-Il Park
  • Dmitry A. Los
  • Natalia A. Pronina


The cellular and molecular organization of the CO2-concentrating mechanism (CCM) of cyanobacteria is reviewed. The primary processes of uptake, translocation, and accumulation of inorganic carbon (Ci) near the active site of carbon assimilation by the enzyme ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase in the C3 cycle in cyanobacteria are described as one of the specialized forms of CO2 concentration which occurs in some photoautotrophic cells. The existence of this form of CO2 concentration expands our understanding of photosynthetic Ci assimilation. The means of supplying Ci to the C3 cycle in cyanobacteria is not by simple diffusion into the cell, but it is the result of coordinated functions of high-affinity systems for the uptake of CO2 and bicarbonate, as well as intracellular CO2/HCO3 interconversions by carbonic anhydrases. These biochemical events are under genetic control, and they serve to maintain cellular homeostasis and adaptation to CO2 limitation. Here we describe the organization of the CCM in cyanobacteria with a special focus on the CCM of relict halo- and alkaliphilic cyanobacteria of soda lakes. We also assess the role of the CCM at the levels of the organism, the biosphere, and evolution.


Carbonic anhydrase CO2-concentrating mechanisms Cyanobacteria Evolutionary origin of the CCM Inorganic carbon transport Relict cyanobacteria 



Carbonic anhydrase


CO2-concentrating mechanism


Inorganic carbon compounds (CO2 + HCO3 )


Cells grown at 2–5 % CO2


Michaelis constant


Cells grown under ambient atmospheric CO2 concentration (0.03–0.04 %)


Photosystem II


Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase


Transport system



We honor the memory of Georgy A. Zavarzin, who initiated the study of the CCM in the relict cyanobacteria. This work was supported by the Grants from Russian Foundation for Basic Research (nos. 13-04-00193, 12-04-32148, and 12-04-00473), and by the Grant from the “Molecular and Cell Biology” program of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Y.-I. Park was supported by the Grants from the Next-Generation BioGreen 21 Program, Rural Development Administration (PJ8205) and from Advanced Biomass Research and Development Center, Republic of Korea (2011-0031344).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena V. Kupriyanova
    • 1
  • Maria A. Sinetova
    • 1
  • Sung Mi Cho
    • 2
  • Youn-Il Park
    • 2
  • Dmitry A. Los
    • 1
  • Natalia A. Pronina
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Plant Physiology, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesCollege of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Chungnam National UniversityDaejeonRepublic of Korea

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