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Free Content NblC, a novel component required for pigment degradation during starvation in Synechococcus PCC 7942

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Adjustment of photosynthetic light harvesting to ambient conditions is essential to allow efficient energy capturing and to prevent surplus excitation and the cellular damage resulting from it. Degradation of the cyanobacterial light harvesting complex, the phycobilisome, is a general acclimation response occurring under various stress conditions. This study identifies a novel component, NblC, which mediates phycobilisome degradation under nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus starvation. Our study indicates the requirement of NblC for efficient expression of nblA, an essential component of the degradation pathway; accumulation of nblA transcripts upon nutrient starvation was impaired in the NblC-mutant. Furthermore, expression of NblC under the control of a foreign promoter resulted in accumulation of nblA transcripts and degradation of the light harvesting complex. Transcription of nblC is induced upon nutrient starvation, suggesting the requirement of elevated levels of NblC under these conditions. Importantly, NblC could not exert its positive effect on nblA expression in the absence of the response regulator NblR. Sequence alignment suggests kinase motifs as well as homology of NblC to anti-sigma factors. Accordingly, we suggest a mode of action for this newly identified modulator, which provides new insights into regulation of gene expression in response to environmental stimuli.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel.

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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