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Plant Physiol. 1994 May;105(1):287-294.

Acclimation of the Photosynthetic Apparatus to Growth Irradiance in a Mutant Strain of Synechococcus Lacking Iron Superoxide Dismutase.

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Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Stanford, California 94305 (G.S., S.K.H., D.C.F.).


The acclimation of the photosynthetic apparatus to growth irradiance in a mutant strain of Synechococcus sp. PCC 7942 lacking detectable iron superoxide dismutase activity was studied. The growth of the mutant was inhibited at concentrations of methyl viologen 4 orders of magnitude smaller than those required to inhibit the growth of the wild-type strain. An increased sensitivity of photosynthetic electron transport near photosystem I (PSI) toward photooxidative stress was also observed in the mutant strain. In the absence of methyl viologen, the mutant exhibited similar growth rates compared with those of the wild type, even at high growth irradiance (350 [mu]E m-2 s-1) where chronic inhibition of photosystem II (PSII) was observed in both strains. Under high growth irradiance, the ratios of PSII to PSI and of [alpha]-phycocyanin to chlorophyll a were less than one-third of the values for the wild type. In both strains, cellular contents of chlorophyll a, [alpha]-phycocyanin, and [beta]-carotene, as well as the length of the phycobilisome rods, declined with increasing growth irradiance. Only the cellular content of the carotenoid zeaxanthin seemed to be independent of growth irradiance. These results suggest an altered acclimation to growth irradiance in the sodB mutant in which the stoichiometry between PSI and PSII is adjusted to compensate for the loss of PSI efficiency occurring under high growth irradiance. Similar shortening of the phycobilisome rods in the sodB mutant and wild-type strain suggest that phycobilisome rod length is regulated independently of photosystem stoichiometry.

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