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Eur J Biochem. 1981 Oct;119(2):425-9.

The photoregulated expression of multiple phycocyanin species. A general mechanism for the control of phycocyanin synthesis in chromatically adapting cyanobacteria.


The regulation of phycocyanin synthesis in response to growth in chromatic illumination was studied in 69 strains of cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria (24 of 31 strains examined), which chromatically adapt by modulating the synthesis of both phycocyanin and phycoerythrin, controlled phycocyanin synthesis through the differential, photoregulated expression of two phycocyanin species (two alpha-type and two beta-type subunits). For these strains the expression of one pair of phycocyanin subunits was constitutive (i.e. irrespective of the light wavelength in which the cells were grown); the expression of the second pair of phycocyanin subunits occurred specifically during growth in red light. Two facultatively heterotrophic cyanobacteria, Calothrix strains 7101 and 7601, synthesized both the constitutive and the inducible pairs of phycocyanin subunits when grown heterotrophically in the dark after transfer from either red or green light. No evidence for the existence of multiple and/or photoregulated phycocyanin species was found for cyanobacteria (25 strains) incapable of chromatic adaptation, nor for cyanobacteria (13 strains) which chromatically adapt by modulating the synthesis of phycoerythrin alone.

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