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Photosynthesis Research - Current Research Articles



Current research articles: Photosynthesis

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Photosynthesis Research - published by Springer

... is an international journal open to papers of merit dealing with both basic and applied aspects of photosynthesis.




Current articles of the journal:



Multiple regulatory mechanisms in the chloroplast of green algae: relation to hydrogen production

Abstract

A complex regulatory network in the chloroplast of green algae provides an efficient tool for maintenance of energy and redox balance in the cell under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. In this review, we discuss the structural and functional organizations of electron transport pathways in the chloroplast, and regulation of photosynthesis in the green microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The focus is on the regulatory mechanisms induced in response to nutrient deficiency stress and anoxia and especially on the role of a hydrogenase-mediated reaction in adaptation to highly reducing conditions and ATP deficiency in the cell.

Posted on 1 September 2015 | 2:00 am


Production of carotenoids by microalgae: achievements and challenges

Abstract

Carotenoids are a wide group of lipophylic isoprenoids synthesized by all photosynthetic organisms and also by some non-photosynthetic bacteria and fungi. Animals, which cannot synthesize carotenoids de novo, must include them in their diet to fulfil essential provitamin, antioxidant, or colouring requirements. Carotenoids are indispensable in light harvesting and energy transfer during photosynthesis and in the protection of the photosynthetic apparatus against photooxidative damage. In this review, we outline the factors inducing carotenoid accumulation in microalgae, the knowledge acquired on the metabolic pathways responsible for their biosynthesis, and the recent achievements in the genetic engineering of this pathway. Despite the considerable progress achieved in understanding and engineering algal carotenogenesis, many aspects remain to be elucidated. The increasing number of sequenced microalgal genomes and the data generated by high-throughput technologies will enable a better understanding of carotenoid biosynthesis in microalgae. Moreover, the growing number of industrial microalgal species genetically modified will allow the production of novel strains with enhanced carotenoid contents.

Posted on 1 September 2015 | 2:00 am


Potential of carbon nanotubes in algal biotechnology

Abstract

A critical mass of knowledge is emerging on the interactions between plant cells and engineered nanomaterials, revealing the potential of plant nanobiotechnology to promote and support novel solutions for the development of a competitive bioeconomy. This knowledge can foster the adoption of new methodological strategies to empower the large-scale production of biomass from commercially important microalgae. The present review focuses on the potential of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to enhance photosynthetic performance of microalgae by (i) widening the spectral region available for the energy conversion reactions and (ii) increasing the tolerance of microalgae towards unfavourable conditions occurring in mass production. To this end, current understanding on the mechanisms of uptake and localization of CNTs in plant cells is discussed. The available ecotoxicological data were used in an attempt to assess the feasibility of CNT-based applications in algal biotechnology, by critically correlating the experimental conditions with the observed adverse effects. Furthermore, main structural and physicochemical properties of single- and multi-walled CNTs and common approaches for the functionalization and characterization of CNTs in biological environment are presented. Here, we explore the potential that nanotechnology can offer to enhance functions of algae, paving the way for a more efficient use of photosynthetic algal systems in the sustainable production of energy, biomass and high-value compounds.

Posted on 1 September 2015 | 2:00 am


Relevance of nutrient media composition for hydrogen production in Chlamydomonas

Abstract

Microalgae are capable of biological H2 photoproduction from water, solar energy, and a variety of organic substrates. Acclimation responses to different nutrient regimes finely control photosynthetic activity and can influence H2 production. Hence, nutrient stresses are an interesting scenario to study H2 production in photosynthetic organisms. In this review, we mainly focus on the H2-production mechanisms in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and the physiological relevance of the nutrient media composition when producing H2.

Posted on 1 September 2015 | 2:00 am


Implementation of photobiological H 2 production: the O 2 sensitivity of hydrogenases

Abstract

The search for the ultimate carbon-free fuel has intensified in recent years, with a major focus on photoproduction of H2. Biological sources of H2 include oxygenic photosynthetic green algae and cyanobacteria, both of which contain hydrogenase enzymes. Although algal and cyanobacterial hydrogenases perform the same enzymatic reaction through metallo-clusters, their hydrogenases have evolved separately, are expressed differently (transcription of algal hydrogenases is anaerobically induced, while bacterial hydrogenases are constitutively expressed), and display different sensitivity to O2 inactivation. Among various physiological factors, the sensitivity of hydrogenases to O2 has been one of the major factors preventing implementation of biological systems for commercial production of renewable H2. This review addresses recent strategies aimed at engineering increased O2 tolerance into hydrogenases (as of now mainly unsuccessful), as well as towards the development of methods to bypass the O2 sensitivity of hydrogenases (successful but still yielding low solar conversion efficiencies). The author concludes with a description of current approaches from various laboratories to incorporate multiple genetic traits into either algae or cyanobacteria to jointly address limiting factors other than the hydrogenase O2 sensitivity and achieve more sustained H2 photoproduction activity.

Posted on 1 September 2015 | 2:00 am


Recent breakthroughs in the biology of astaxanthin accumulation by microalgal cell

Abstract

Massive accumulation of the secondary ketokarotenoid astaxanthin is a characteristic stress response of certain microalgal species with Haematococcus pluvialis as an illustrious example. The carotenogenic response confers these organisms a remarkable ability to survive in extremely unfavorable environments and makes them the richest source of natural astaxanthin. Exerting a plethora of beneficial effects on human and animal health, astaxanthin is among the most important bioproducts from microalgae. Though our understanding of astaxanthin biosynthesis, induction, and regulation is far from complete, this gap is filling rapidly with new knowledge generated predominantly by application of advanced “omics” approaches. This review focuses on the most recent progress in the biology of astaxanthin accumulation in microalgae including the genomic, proteomic, and metabolomics insights into the induction and regulation of secondary carotenogenesis and its role in stress tolerance of the photosynthetic microorganisms. Special attention is paid to the coupling of the carotenoid and lipid biosynthesis as well as deposition of astaxanthin in the algal cell. The place of the carotenogenic response among the stress tolerance mechanisms is revisited, and possible implications of the new findings for biotechnological production of astaxanthin from microalgae are considered. The potential use of the carotenogenic microalgae as a source not only of value-added carotenoids, but also of biofuel precursors is discussed.

Posted on 1 September 2015 | 2:00 am


The role of pyruvate hub enzymes in supplying carbon precursors for fatty acid synthesis in photosynthetic microalgae

Abstract

Photosynthetic microalgae are currently the focus of basic and applied research due to an ever-growing interest in renewable energy resources. This review discusses the role of carbon-unit supply for the production of acetyl-CoA, a direct precursor of fatty acid biosynthesis and the primary building block of the growing acyl chains for the purpose of triacylglycerol (TAG) production in photosynthetic microalgae under stressful conditions. It underscores the importance of intraplastidic acetyl-CoA generation for storage lipid accumulation. The main focus is placed on two enzymatic steps linking the central carbon metabolism and fatty acid synthesis, namely the reactions catalyzed by the plastidic isoform of pyruvate kinase and the chloroplastic pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. Alternative routes for plastidic acetyl-CoA synthesis are also reviewed. A separate section is devoted to recent advances in functional genomics studies related to fatty acid and TAG biosynthesis.

Posted on 1 September 2015 | 2:00 am


Remembering Jeanette Snyder Brown (1925–2014)

Abstract

Jeanette Snyder Brown (universally called Jan) was associated with the Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution for Science (until recently Carnegie Institution of Washington) over a period of 37 years. Jan has left a scientific legacy of extensive publications concerned with photosynthetic pigments and their organization, and a historic collection of portraits of scientists who were prominent during her long tenure in the Department of Plant Biology. This legacy will stand for many years to come.

Posted on 28 August 2015 | 2:00 am


Multiple roles of oxygen in the photoinactivation and dynamic repair of Photosystem II in spinach leaves

Abstract

Oxygen effects have long been ambiguous: exacerbating, being indifferent to, or ameliorating the net photoinactivation of Photosystem II (PS II). We scrutinized the time course of PS II photoinactivation (characterized by rate coefficient k i) in the absence of repair, or when recovery (characterized by k r) occurred simultaneously in CO2 ± O2. Oxygen exacerbated photoinactivation per se, but alleviated it by mediating the utilization of electrons. With repair permitted, the gradual net loss of functional PS II during illumination of leaves was better described phenomenologically by introducing ?, the time for an initial k r to decrease by half. At 1500 ?mol photons m?2 s?1, oxygen decreased the initial k r but increased ?. Similarly, at even higher irradiance in air, there was a further decrease in the initial k r and increase in ?. These observations are consistent with an empirical model that (1) oxygen increased k i via oxidative stress but decreased it by mediating the utilization of electrons; and (2) reactive oxygen species stimulated the degradation of photodamaged D1 protein in PS II (characterized by k d), but inhibited the de novo synthesis of D1 (characterized by k s), and that the balance between these effects determines the net effect of O2 on PS II functionality.

Posted on 22 August 2015 | 2:00 am


Photosynthetic use of inorganic carbon in deep-water kelps from the Strait of Gibraltar

Abstract

Mechanisms of inorganic carbon assimilation were investigated in the four deep-water kelps inhabiting sea bottoms at the Strait of Gibraltar; these species are distributed at different depths (Saccorhiza polysiches at shallower waters, followed by Laminaria ochroleuca, then Phyllariopsis brevipes and, at the deepest bottoms, Phyllariopsis purpurascens). To elucidate the capacity to use HCO3 ? as a source of inorganic carbon for photosynthesis in the kelps, different experimental approaches were used. Specifically, we measured the irradiance-saturated gross photosynthetic rate versus pH at a constant dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentration of 2 mM, the irradiance-saturated apparent photosynthesis (APS) rate versus DIC, the total and the extracellular carbonic anhydrase (CAext), the observed and the theoretical photosynthetic rates supported by the spontaneous dehydration of HCO3 ? to CO2, and the ?13C signature in tissues of the algae. While S. polyschides and L. ochroleuca showed photosynthetic activity at pH 9.5 (around 1.0 µmol O2 m?2 s?1), the activity was close to zero in both species of Phyllariopsis. The APS versus DIC was almost saturated for the DIC values of natural seawater (2 mM) in S. polyschides and L. ochroleuca, but the relationship was linear in P. brevipes and P. purpurascens. The four species showed total and CAext activities but the inhibition of the CAext originated the observed photosynthetic rates at pH 8.0 to be similar to the theoretical rates that could be supported by the spontaneous dehydration of HCO3 ?. The isotopic 13C signatures ranged from ?17.40 ± 1.81 to ?21.11 ± 1.73 ‰ in the four species. Additionally, the ?13C signature was also measured in the deep-water Laminaria rodriguezii growing at 60–80 m, showing even a more negative value of ?26.49 ± 1.25 ‰. All these results suggest that the four kelps can use HCO3 ? as external carbon source for photosynthesis mainly by the action of external CAext, but they also suggest that the species inhabiting shallower waters show a higher capacity than the smaller kelps living in deeper waters. In fact, the photosynthesis in the two Phyllariopsis species could be accomplished by the spontaneous dehydration of HCO3 ? to CO2. These differences in the capacity to use HCO3 ? in photosynthesis among species could be important considering the increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 predicted for the near future.

Posted on 15 August 2015 | 2:00 am


Differences in energy transfer of a cyanobacterium, Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002, grown in different cultivation media

Abstract

Currently, cyanobacteria are regarded as potential biofuel sources. Large-scale cultivation of cyanobacteria in seawater is of particular interest because seawater is a low-cost medium. In the present study, we examined differences in light-harvesting and energy transfer processes in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 grown in different cultivation media, namely modified A medium (the optimal growth medium for Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002) and f/2 (a seawater medium). The concentrations of nitrate and phosphate ions were varied in both media. Higher nitrate ion and/or phosphate ion concentrations yielded high relative content of phycobilisome. The cultivation medium influenced the energy transfers within phycobilisome, from phycobilisome to photosystems, within photosystem II, and from photosystem II to photosystem I. We suggest that the medium also affects charge recombination at the photosystem II reaction center and formation of a chlorophyll-containing complex.

Posted on 1 August 2015 | 2:00 am


Replacement of Tyr50 stacked on the si -face of the isoalloxazine ring of the flavin adenine dinucleotide prosthetic group modulates Bacillus subtilis ferredoxin-NADP + oxidoreductase activity toward NADPH

Abstract

Ferredoxin-NAD(P)+ oxidoreductases ([EC 1.18.1.2], [EC 1.18.1.3], FNRs) from green sulfur bacteria, purple non-sulfur bacteria and most of Firmicutes, such as Bacillus subtilis (BsFNR) are homo-dimeric flavoproteins homologous to bacterial NADPH-thioredoxin reductase. These FNRs contain two unique aromatic residues stacked on the si- and re-face of the isoalloxazine ring moiety of the FAD prosthetic group whose configurations are often found among other types of flavoproteins including plant-type FNR and flavodoxin, but not in bacterial NADPH-thioredoxin reductase. To investigate the role of the si-face Tyr50 residue in BsFNR, we replaced Tyr50 with Gly, Ser, and Trp and examined its spectroscopic properties and enzymatic activities in the presence of NADPH and ferredoxin (Fd) from B. subtilis (BsFd). The replacement of Tyr50 to Gly (Y50G), Ser (Y50S), and Trp (Y50W) in BsFNR resulted in a blue shift of the FAD transition bands. The Y50G and Y50S mutations enhanced the FAD fluorescence emission, whereas those of the wild type and Y50W mutant were quenched. All three mutants decreased thermal stabilities compared to wild type. Using a diaphorase assay, the k cat values for the Y50G and Y50S mutants in the presence of NADPH and ferricyanide were decreased to less than 5 % of the wild type activity. The Y50W mutant retained approximately 20 % reactivity in the diaphorase assay and BsFd-dependent cytochrome c reduction assay relative to wild type. The present results suggest that Tyr50 modulates the electronic properties and positioning of the prosthetic group.

Posted on 1 August 2015 | 2:00 am


My journey in photosynthesis research

Abstract

At the invitation of Suleyman I. Allakhverdiev, I provide here a brief autobiography for this special issue that recognizes my service and research for the larger international community of photosynthesis research.

Posted on 1 August 2015 | 2:00 am


Brassica napus responses to short-term excessive copper treatment with decrease of photosynthetic pigments, differential expression of heavy metal homeostasis genes including activation of gene NRAMP4 involved in photosystem II stabilization

Abstract

In the present study, the influence of 50 and 100 µM CuSO4 was investigated starting from 3 h till 72 h treatment of 4-weeks Brassica napus plants. High CuSO4 concentrations in nutrient medium resulted in the rapid copper accumulation in plants, especially in roots, much slower and to lower degree in leaves. Copper excess induced early decrease in the leaf water content and temporary leaf wilting. The decrease in content of photosynthetic pigments became significant to 24 h of excessive copper treatments and reached 35 % decrease to 72 h, but there were no significant changes in maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II photochemistry. The copper excess affected the expression of ten genes involved in heavy metal homeostasis and copper detoxification. The results showed the differential and organ-specific expression of most genes. The potential roles of copper-activated genes encoding heavy metal transporters (ZIP5, NRAMP4, YSL2, and MRP1), metallothioneins (MT1a and MT2b), low-molecular chelator synthesis enzymes (PCS1 and NAS2), and metallochaperones (CCS and HIPP06) in heavy metal homeostasis and copper ion detoxification were discussed. The highest increase in gene expression was shown for NRAMP4 in leaves in spite of relatively moderate Cu accumulation there. The opinion was advanced that the NRAMP4 activation can be considered among the early reactions in the defense of the photosystem II against copper excess.

Posted on 1 August 2015 | 2:00 am


Energy transfer in the chlorophyll f -containing cyanobacterium, Halomicronema hongdechloris , analyzed by time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopies

Abstract

We prepared thylakoid membranes from Halomicronema hongdechloris cells grown under white fluorescent light or light from far-red (740 nm) light-emitting diodes, and observed their energy-transfer processes shortly after light excitation. Excitation–relaxation processes were examined by steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopies. Two time-resolved fluorescence techniques were used: time-correlated single photon counting and fluorescence up-conversion methods. The thylakoids from the cells grown under white light contained chlorophyll (Chl) a of different energies, but were devoid of Chl f. At room temperature, the excitation energy was equilibrated among the Chl a pools with a time constant of 6.6 ps. Conversely, the thylakoids from the cells grown under far-red light possessed both Chl a and Chl f. Two energy-transfer pathways from Chl a to Chl f were identified with time constants of 1.3 and 5.0 ps, and the excitation energy was equilibrated between the Chl a and Chl f pools at room temperature. We also examined the energy-transfer pathways from phycobilisome to the two photosystems under white-light cultivation.

Posted on 1 August 2015 | 2:00 am


Energy transfer in Anabaena variabilis filaments under nitrogen depletion, studied by time-resolved fluorescence

Abstract

Some filamentous cyanobacteria (including Anabaena) differentiate into heterocysts under nitrogen-depleted conditions. During differentiation, the phycobiliproteins and photosystem II in the heterocysts are gradually degraded. Nitrogen depletion induces changes in the pigment composition of both vegetative cells and heterocysts, which affect the excitation energy transfer processes. To investigate the changes in excitation energy transfer processes of Anabaena variabilis filaments grown in standard medium (BG11) and a nitrogen-free medium (BG110), we measured their steady-state absorption spectra, steady-state fluorescence spectra, and time-resolved fluorescence spectra (TRFS) at 77 K. TRFS were measured with a picosecond time-correlated single photon counting system. The pigment compositions of the filaments grown in BG110 changed throughout the growth period; the relative phycocyanin levels monotonically decreased, whereas the relative carotenoid (Car) levels decreased and then recovered to their initial value (at day 0), with formation of lower-energy Cars. Nitrogen starvation also altered the fluorescence kinetics of PSI; the fluorescence maximum of TRFS immediately after excitation occurred at 735, 740, and 730 nm after 4, 8, and 15 days growth in BG110, respectively. Based on these results, we discuss the excitation energy transfer dynamics of A. variabilis filaments under the nitrogen-depleted condition throughout the growth period.

Posted on 1 August 2015 | 2:00 am


Slr2019, lipid A transporter homolog, is essential for acidic tolerance in Synechocystis sp. PCC6803

Abstract

Living organisms must defend themselves against various environmental stresses. Extracellular polysaccharide-producing cells exhibit enhanced tolerance toward adverse environmental stress. In Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 (Synechocystis), lipopolysaccharide (LPS) may play a role in this protection. To examine the relationship between stress tolerance of Synechocystis and LPS, we focused on Slr2019 because Slr2019 is homologous to MsbA in Escherichia coli, which is related to LPS synthesis. First, to obtain a defective mutant of LPS, we constructed the slr2019 insertion mutant (slr2019) strain. Sodium deoxycholate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis indicated that slr2019 strain did not synthesize normal LPS. Second, to clarify the participation of LPS in acid tolerance, wild type (WT) and slr2019 strain were grown under acid stress; slr2019 strain growth was significantly weaker than WT growth. Third, to examine influences on stress tolerance, slr2019 strain was grown under various stresses. Under salinity and temperature stress, slr2019 strain grew significantly slower than WT. To confirm cell morphology, cell shape and envelope of slr2019 strain were observed by transmission electron microscopy; slr2019 cells contained more electron-transparent bodies than WT cells. Finally, to confirm whether electron-transparent bodies are poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB), slr2019 strain was stained with Nile Blue A, a PHB detector, and observed by fluorescence microscopy. The PHB granule content ratio of WT and slr2019 strain grown at BG-11 pH 8.0 was each 7.18 and 8.41 %. At pH 6.0, the PHB granule content ratio of WT and slr2019 strain was 2.99 and 2.60 %. However, the PHB granule content ratio of WT and slr2019 strain grown at BG-11N-reduced was 10.82 and 0.56 %. Because slr2019 strain significantly decreased PHB under BG-11N-reduced compared with WT, LPS synthesis may be related to PHB under particular conditions. These results indicated that Slr2019 is necessary for Synechocystis survival in various stresses.

Posted on 1 August 2015 | 2:00 am





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