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Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2004 Jun;3(6):503-11. Epub 2004 May 10.

Photoresponsive cAMP signal transduction in cyanobacteria.

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Department of Life Sciences (Biology), Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Meguro, Tokyo 153-8902, Japan.


The molecular mechanism of cAMP-mediated signal transduction from light reception to the physiological response via regulation of gene expression in cyanobacteria is described based on our recent works. Cyanobacteria are known as the organisms that acquired oxygen-evolving, higher plant type photosynthesis. We have found that the cellular cAMP level in the filamentous cyanobacteria Anabaena was oppositely regulated by red and far-red light, i.e., decreasing and increasing, respectively, suggesting that a phytochrome-like red/far-red photoreversible pigment regulates the activity of a certain adenylate cyclase. On the other hand, in the unicellular cyanobacterium Synechocystis cellular cAMP content was increased by blue light irradiation, which led to stimulation of cell motility. The cAMP signaling pathway is known to play an important role in the regulation of various biological activities by altering enzyme activities or controlling gene expression levels in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. We have isolated genes for adenylate cyclases and cAMP receptor proteins and characterized their molecular properties. Disruption of these genes resulted in the loss of cell motility. It is concluded that the light signal was transmitted by cAMP signal cascade in cyanobacteria.

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