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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 
 
 

A green light-absorbing phycoerythrin is present in the high-light-adapted marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus sp. MED4.

In the high-light-adapted unicellular marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus sp. MED4 the cpeB gene is the only gene coding for a structural phycobiliprotein. The absence of any other phycoerythrin gene in the fully sequenced genome of this organism, the previous inability to detect a gene product, and the mutation of two out of four cysteine residues, normally involved in binding chromophores, suggested that MED4-cpeB might not code for a functional protein. Here, transcription of MED4-cpeB at a low level was detected and the transcriptional start site was mapped. Enrichment of the protein identified phycoerythrobilin as its sole chromophore in vivo, which was confirmed by chromophorylation assays in vitro using the recombinant protein. Phycourobilin is the major chromophore in low-light-adapted Prochlorococcus ecotypes such as strain SS120. Therefore, spectrally tuned phycoerythrins are a characteristic feature of distinct Prochlorococcus ecotypes. Further in vitro mutagenesis experiments replacing one or both cysteines C61R/C82S by arginine or serine, respectively, revealed that only Cys82 is required for chromophore binding. Thus, an unusual green light-absorbing phycoerythrin evolved in the high-light-adapted ecotypes of Prochlorococcus, which potentially serves as a photoreceptor.[1]

References

  1. A green light-absorbing phycoerythrin is present in the high-light-adapted marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus sp. MED4. Steglich, C., Frankenberg-Dinkel, N., Penno, S., Hess, W.R. Environ. Microbiol. (2005) [Pubmed]
 
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