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J Bacteriol. 2008 Sep;190(17):5824-31. doi: 10.1128/JB.00524-08. Epub 2008 Jul 7.

Control of peripheral light-harvesting complex synthesis by a bacteriophytochrome in the aerobic photosynthetic bacterium Bradyrhizobium strain BTAi1.

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  • 1Laboratoire des Symbioses Tropicales et Méditerranéennes, IRD, CIRAD, AGRO-M, INRA, UM2, TA A-82/J, Campus de Baillarguet, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.


The recent sequence analysis of the photosynthetic and plant-symbiotic Bradyrhizobium sp. strain BTAi1 revealed the unexpected presence of a pucBA operon encoding the apoproteins of peripheral light-harvesting (LH) complexes. This pucBA operon is found close to a bacteriophytochrome gene (BphP3(B BTAi1)) and a two-component transcriptional regulator gene (TF(BTAi1) gene). In this study, we show that BphP3(B BTAi1) acts as a bona fide bacteriophytochrome and controls, according to light conditions, the expression of the pucBA operon found in its vicinity. This light regulatory pathway is very similar to the one previously described for chromo-BphP4(Rp) in Rhodopseudomonas palustris and conducts the synthesis of a peripheral LH complex. This LH complex presents a single absorption band at low temperature, centered at 803 nm. Fluorescence emission analysis of intact cells indicates that this peripheral LH complex does not act as an efficient light antenna. One putative function of this LH complex could be to evacuate excess light energy in order to protect Bradyrhizobium strain BTAi1, an aerobic anoxygenic photosynthetic bacterium, against photooxidative damage during photosynthesis.

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