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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Feb;1777(2):163-72. Epub 2007 Sep 26.

Dual role for a bacteriophytochrome in the bioenergetic control of Rhodopseudomonas palustris: enhancement of photosystem synthesis and limitation of respiration.

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CEA Cadarache, DSV/IBEB/SBVME/LBC, UMR 6191 CNRS/CEA/Univ Aix-Marseille, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, F-13108 France.


In the purple photosynthetic bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris, far-red illumination induces photosystem synthesis via the action of the bacteriophytochrome RpBphP1. This bacteriophytochrome antagonizes the repressive effect of the transcriptional regulator PpsR2 under aerobic condition. We show here that, in addition to photosystem synthesis, far-red light induces a significant growth rate limitation, compared to cells grown in the dark, linked to a decrease in the respiratory activity. The phenotypes of mutants inactivated in RpBphP1 and PpsR2 show their involvement in this regulation. Based on enzymatic and transcriptional studies, a 30% decrease in the expression of the alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex, a central enzyme of the Krebs cycle, is observed under far-red light. We propose that this decrease is responsible for the down-regulation of respiration in this condition. This regulation mechanism at the Krebs cycle level still allows the formation of the photosynthetic apparatus via the synthesis of key biosynthesis precursors but lowers the production of NADH, i.e. the respiratory activity. Overall, the dual action of RpBphP1 on the regulation of both the photosynthesis genes and the Krebs cycle allows a fine adaptation of bacteria to environmental conditions by enhancement of the most favorable bioenergetic process in the light, photosynthesis versus respiration.

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