- Far-red light (FRL) photoacclimation in cyanobacteria provides a selective growth advantage for some terrestrial cyanobacteria by expanding the range of photosynthetically active radiation to include far-red/near-infrared light (700–800 nm). During this photoacclimation process, photosystem II (PSII), the water:plastoquinone photooxidoreductase involved in oxygenic photosynthesis, is modified. The resulting FRL-PSII is comprised of FRL-specific core subunits and binds chlorophyll (Chl) d and Chl f molecules in place of several of the Chl a molecules found when cells are grown in visible light.
- Far-red light photoacclimation exhibited by some cyanobacteria allows these organisms to use the far-red region of the solar spectrum (700–800 nm) for photosynthesis. Part of this process includes the replacement of six photosystem I (PSI) subunits with isoforms that confer the binding of chlorophyll (Chl) f molecules that absorb far-red light (FRL). However, the exact sites at which Chl f molecules are bound are still challenging to determine. To aid in the identification of Chl f-binding sites, we solved the cryo-EM structure of PSI from far-red light-acclimated cells of the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp.
- Modified tetrapyrroles are large macrocyclic compounds, consisting of diverse conjugation and metal chelation systems and imparting an array of colors to the biological structures that contain them. Tetrapyrroles represent some of the most complex small molecules synthesized by cells and are involved in many essential processes that are fundamental to life on Earth, including photosynthesis, respiration, and catalysis. These molecules are all derived from a common template through a series of enzyme-mediated transformations that alter the oxidation state of the macrocycle and also modify its size, its side-chain composition, and the nature of the centrally chelated metal ion.
- Green bacteria are chlorophotorophs that synthesize bacteriochlorophyll (BChl) c, d, or e, which assemble into supramolecular, nanotubular structures in large light-harvesting structures called chlorosomes. The biosynthetic pathways of these chlorophylls are known except for one reaction. Null mutants of bciD, which encodes a putative radical S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM) protein, are unable to synthesize BChl e but accumulate BChl c; however, it is unknown whether BciD is sufficient to convert BChl c (or its precursor, bacteriochlorophyllide (BChlide) c) into BChl e (or BChlide e).