Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 136, Issue 2, pp 183–198 | Cite as

On the origin of the slow M–T chlorophyll a fluorescence decline in cyanobacteria: interplay of short-term light-responses

  • Gábor Bernát
  • Gábor Steinbach
  • Radek Kaňa
  • Govindjee
  • Amarendra N. Misra
  • Ondřej Prašil
Original Article


The slow kinetic phases of the chlorophyll a fluorescence transient (induction) are valuable tools in studying dynamic regulation of light harvesting, light energy distribution between photosystems, and heat dissipation in photosynthetic organisms. However, the origin of these phases are not yet fully understood. This is especially true in the case of prokaryotic oxygenic photoautotrophs, the cyanobacteria. To understand the origin of the slowest (tens of minutes) kinetic phase, the M–T fluorescence decline, in the context of light acclimation of these globally important microorganisms, we have compared spectrally resolved fluorescence induction data from the wild type Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 cells, using orange (λ = 593 nm) actinic light, with those of mutants, ΔapcD and ΔOCP, that are unable to perform either state transition or fluorescence quenching by orange carotenoid protein (OCP), respectively. Our results suggest a multiple origin of the M–T decline and reveal a complex interplay of various known regulatory processes in maintaining the redox homeostasis of a cyanobacterial cell. In addition, they lead us to suggest that a new type of regulatory process, operating on the timescale of minutes to hours, is involved in dissipating excess light energy in cyanobacteria.


Synechocystis Fluorescence quenching Kautsky effect The M–T phase Photoprotection Interplay of regulatory processes 




Chl F

Chl a fluorescence




Flavodiiron (protein)


Non-photochemical quenching of Chl F


Orange carotenoid protein







QA and QB

The primary and secondary quinone electron acceptors of PS II


Energy dependent quenching of Chl F


Quenching of Chl F due to photoinhibition


Quenching of Chl F due to state 1 to state 2 transition


Spectrally resolved fluorescence induction





We thank Diana Kirilovsky for stimulating discussions, and Ondřej Komárek and Jana Hofhanzlová for their technical assistance. G.B. and O.P. were supported by project Algaman (CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0203) of the MŠMT, Czech Republic. The work of R.K. was supported by The Czech Science Foundation GAČR (16-10088S). The research at the Center Algatech is supported by project Algatech plus (NPU I, LO 1416), and by project ALGAMIC (CZ 1.05/2.1.00/19.0392). Govindjee was supported by the Department of Plant Biology and the Department of Biochemistry of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A.N.M. was supported by INSA-CAS international exchange visit fellowship. BRC was supported by a grant from the Hungarian Ministry for National Economy (GINOP-2.3.2-15-2016-00001). We thank Diana Kirilovsky, and Ghada Ajlani for providing the ΔapcD and ΔOCP, and PAL mutants, respectively. We appreciate the critical reading of our manuscript by Anna Yeates, Alizée Malnoë, and George Papageorgiou. Last but not the least, we thank the two anonymous reviewers as well as the editor, Agu Laisk, for their careful reading of our manuscript and their insightful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gábor Bernát
    • 1
  • Gábor Steinbach
    • 1
    • 2
  • Radek Kaňa
    • 1
  • Govindjee
    • 3
  • Amarendra N. Misra
    • 4
    • 5
  • Ondřej Prašil
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.Laboratory of Photosynthesis, Institute of MicrobiologyAcademy of SciencesTřeboňCzech Republic
  2. 2.Institute of Biophysics, Biological Research CentreHungarian Academy of SciencesSzegedHungary
  3. 3.Department of Biochemistry and Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  4. 4.Centre for Life SciencesCentral University of JharkandRanchiIndia
  5. 5.Khallikote Cluster UniversityBerhampurIndia
  6. 6.Faculty of SciencesUniversity of South Bohemia in České BudějoviceCeske BudejoviceCzech Republic

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