, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 279–293 | Cite as

Ferredoxin: the central hub connecting photosystem I to cellular metabolism

  • J. Mondal
  • B. D. Bruce


Ferredoxin (Fd) is a small soluble iron-sulfur protein essential in almost all oxygenic photosynthetic organisms. It contains a single [2Fe-2S] cluster coordinated by four cysteine ligands. It accepts electrons from the stromal surface of PSI and facilitates transfer to a myriad of acceptors involved in diverse metabolic processes, including generation of NADPH via Fd-NADP-reductase, cyclic electron transport for ATP synthesis, nitrate reduction, nitrite reductase, sulfite reduction, hydrogenase and other reductive reactions. Fd serves as the central hub for these diverse cellular reactions and is integral to complex cellular metabolic networks. We describe advances on the central role of Fd and its evolutionary role from cyanobacteria to algae/plants. We compare structural diversity of Fd partners to understand this orchestrating role and shed light on how Fd dynamically partitions between competing partner proteins to enable the optimum transfer of PSI-derived electrons to support cell growth and metabolism.

Additional key words

cellular metabolism electron transfer ferredoxin global interaction oxidation-reduction 





bilin reductases


cyclic electron transfer






reduced Fd


oxidized Fd


flavin adenine dinucleotide


flavin mononucleotide




reduced FNR


oxidized FNR


Fd:Tro reductase


glutamine synthase


glutamate synthase


dissociation constant


electron transfer rate constant


NADPH dehydrogenase


nitrite reductase


nitrate reductase




3E/3Z phycocyanobilin




3Z/3E phycoerythrobilin


3E/3Z phytochromobilin


root-mean-square deviation


sulfite reductase




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Copyright information

© The Institute of Experimental Botany 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular BiologyUniversity of Tennessee at KnoxvilleKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Graduate School of Genome Science and TechnologyUniversity of Tennessee at KnoxvilleKnoxvilleUSA

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