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Microbiology. 2014 May;160(Pt 5):992-1005. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.075192-0. Epub 2014 Mar 12.

Responses to iron limitation are impacted by light quality and regulated by RcaE in the chromatically acclimating cyanobacterium Fremyella diplosiphon.

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1Department of Energy - Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.
2Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.


Photosynthetic organisms adapt to environmental fluctuations of light and nutrient availability. Iron is critical for photosynthetic organismal growth, as many cellular processes depend upon iron cofactors. Whereas low iron levels can have deleterious effects, excess iron can lead to damage, as iron is a reactive metal that can result in the production of damaging radicals. Therefore, organisms regulate cellular iron levels to maintain optimal iron homeostasis. In particular, iron is an essential factor for the function of photosystems associated with photosynthetic light-harvesting complexes. Photosynthetic organisms, including cyanobacteria, generally respond to iron deficiency by reduced growth, degradation of non-essential proteins and in some cases alterations of cellular morphology. In response to fluctuations in ambient light quality, the cyanobacterium Fremyella diplosiphon undergoes complementary chromatic adaptation (CCA). During CCA, phycobiliprotein composition of light-harvesting antennae is altered in response to green light (GL) and red light (RL) for efficient utilization of light energy for photosynthesis. We observed light-regulated responses to iron limitation in F. diplosiphon. RL-grown cells exhibited significant reductions in growth and pigment levels, and alterations in iron-associated proteins, which impact the accumulation of reactive oxygen species under iron-limiting conditions, whereas GL-grown cells exhibited partial resistance to iron limitation. We investigated the roles of known CCA regulators RcaE, RcaF and RcaC in this light-dependent iron-acclimation response. Through comparative analyses of wild-type and CCA mutant strains, we determined that photoreceptor RcaE has a central role in light-induced oxidative stress associated with iron limitation, and impacts light-regulated iron-acclimation responses, physiologically and morphologically.

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