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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2003 Jan 29;358(1429):147-53; discussion 153-4.

Redox and light regulation of gene expression in photosynthetic prokaryotes.

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Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.


All photosynthetic organisms control expression of photosynthesis genes in response to alterations in light intensity as well as to changes in cellular redox potential. Light regulation in plants involves a well-defined set of red- and blue-light absorbing photoreceptors called phytochrome and cryptochrome. Less understood are the factors that control synthesis of the plant photosystem in response to changes in cellular redox. Among a diverse set of photosynthetic bacteria the best understood regulatory systems are those synthesized by the photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter capsulatus. This species uses the global two-component signal transduction cascade, RegB and RegA, to anaerobically de-repress anaerobic gene expression. Under reducing conditions, the phosphate on RegB is transferred to RegA, which then activates genes involved in photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation, carbon fixation, respiration and electron transport. In the presence of oxygen, there is a second regulator known as CrtJ, which is responsible for repressing photosynthesis gene expression. CrtJ responds to redox by forming an intramolecular disulphide bond under oxidizing, but not reducing, growth conditions. The presence of the disulphide bond stimulates DNA binding activity of the repressor. There is also a flavoprotein that functions as a blue-light absorbing anti-repressor of CrtJ in the related bacterial species Rhodobacter sphaeroides called AppA. AppA exhibits a novel long-lived photocycle that is initiated by blue-light absorption by the flavin. Once excited, AppA binds to CrtJ thereby inhibiting the repressor activity of CrtJ. Various mechanistic aspects of this photocycle will be discussed.

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