Genes coding for putative CrtJ and AerR homologs were identified and characterized in the purple photosynthetic bacterium Rhodospirillum centenum (also known as Rhodocista centenaria), an organism that synthesizes photopigments even under highly aerated conditions. Mutational analysis indicated that in Rsp. centenum, genecrtJ codes for a repressor for photosynthesisgene expression as in Rhodobacter capsulatus, which exhibits a high level of oxygen repression of photosystem synthesis. In contrast to Rba. capsulatus, AerR in Rsp. centenum appears to be an aerobic activator; an aerR mutation resulted in significantly reduced levels of photopigment synthesis. Both aerR and crtJ mutants retained essentially normal levels of photosystem synthesis under anaerobic conditions, indicating that their activities are specific for aerobic photosystem synthesis. The readthrough transcript from crtE promoter, which is regulated by AerR and CrtJ, seems to be significant in maintaining the expression levels of the light harvesting I (puf) genes in Rsp. centenum. We suggest that AerR and CrtJ regulate aerobic photosystem synthesis primarily through controlling activity of the transcriptional readthrough.
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Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences
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