alexa The orange carotenoid protein in photoprotection of photosystem II in cyanobacteria.


Biochemistry & Analytical Biochemistry

Author(s): Kirilovsky D, Kerfeld CA

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Abstract Photoprotective mechanisms have evolved in photosynthetic organisms to cope with fluctuating light conditions. Under high irradiance, the production of dangerous oxygen species is stimulated and causes photo-oxidative stress. One of these photoprotective mechanisms, non photochemical quenching (qE), decreases the excess absorbed energy arriving at the reaction centers by increasing thermal dissipation at the level of the antenna. In this review we describe results leading to the discovery of this process in cyanobacteria (qE(cya)), which is mechanistically distinct from its counterpart in plants, and recent progress in the elucidation of this mechanism. The cyanobacterial photoactive soluble orange carotenoid protein is essential for the triggering of this photoprotective mechanism. Light induces structural changes in the carotenoid and the protein leading to the formation of a red active form. The activated red form interacts with the phycobilisome, the cyanobacterial light-harvesting antenna, and induces a decrease of the phycobilisome fluorescence emission and of the energy arriving to the reaction centers. The orange carotenoid protein is the first photoactive protein to be identified that contains a carotenoid as the chromophore. Moreover, its photocycle is completely different from those of other photoactive proteins. A second protein, called the Fluorescence Recovery Protein encoded by the slr1964 gene in Synechocystis PCC 6803, plays a key role in dislodging the red orange carotenoid protein from the phycobilisome and in the conversion of the free red orange carotenoid protein to the orange, inactive, form. This protein is essential to recover the full antenna capacity under low light conditions after exposure to high irradiance. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Photosystem II. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. This article was published in Biochim Biophys Acta and referenced in Biochemistry & Analytical Biochemistry

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