Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 75, Issue 1, pp 71–84 | Cite as

Adaptation to iron deficiency: a comparison between the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 wild-type and a DpsA-free mutant

  • Klaus-Peter Michel
  • Stephan Berry
  • Awatief Hifney
  • Jochen Kruip
  • Elfriede K. PistoriusEmail author


To learn more about the adaptive response of Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 to iron starvation and the role of DpsA, presumably a protein protecting chromosomal DNA against oxidative damage, we performed a comparative analysis of S. elongatus PCC 7942 wild-type and a DpsA-free mutant, called K11. Relative to wild-type, the DpsA-free mutant had significantly higher amounts of phycocyanin and allophycocyanin, even upon iron limitation. While the Photosystem I activity in mutant K11 remained high under iron deficiency, the Photosystem II activity dropped severely with respect to wild-type. The DpsA content in wild-type was already fairly high under regular growth conditions and did not significantly increase under iron deficiency nor in the presence of 0.3 mM 2′2′-dipyridyl in iron-sufficient BG11 medium. Nevertheless, the absence of DpsA in K11 resulted in a significantly altered transcriptional/translational activity of genes known to be involved in adaptation to iron starvation. The amount of isiA/B transcript was about two-fold lower than in wild-type, resulting in a lower 77 K chlorophyll a fluorescence at 685 nm, implying a lower concentration of Photosystem I-IsiA supercomplexes. While in wild-type idiA, idiB, and irpA transcripts were highly up-regulated, hardly any were detectable in mutant K11 under iron limitation. The concentration of mapA transcript, however, was greatly increased in K11 compared to wild-type. Measurements of acridine yellow fluorescence with intact wild-type and K11 cells revealed that iron deficiency caused an increased contribution of cyclic electron transport to membrane energisation and ATP synthesis being in agreement with the formation of the Photosystem I-IsiA supercomplex. In addition, mutant K11 had a much higher respiratory activity compared to wild-type under iron limitation.

adaptation to iron deficiency DpsA IdiA IsiA linear and cyclic electron flow respiration Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus-Peter Michel
    • 1
  • Stephan Berry
    • 2
  • Awatief Hifney
    • 1
  • Jochen Kruip
    • 2
  • Elfriede K. Pistorius
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Biologie VIII: ZellphysiologieUniversität BielefeldBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Lehrstuhl für Biochemie der Pflanzen, Ruhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany

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