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FEBS Lett. 1996 Jul 1;389(2):126-30.

Cloning, sequencing and functional assignment of the chlorophyll biosynthesis gene, chlP, of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803.

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Robert Hill Institute for Photosynthesis, Sheffield, UK.


A gene from the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 has been cloned and sequenced, and subsequently used to partially complement a bchP mutant of the purple photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides. This mutant is blocked in the terminal hydrogenation steps of bchla biosynthesis and possesses only bchl esterified with geranylgeraniol. It also has a reduced cellular level of the light-harvesting LH2 complex, and the 850 nm absorbance maximum of LH2 is red-shifted by approximately 6 nm. Upon heterologous expression of the Synechocystis bchP homologue, not only are hydrogenated forms of bchlaGG detectable, but the level of LH2 is increased and the red-shift reversed by several nm. We conclude that this gene, which we term chlP, encodes the enzyme catalysing the stepwise hydrogenation of geranylgeraniol to phytol during chla biosynthesis.

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