Revisiting cyanobacterial state transitions
Photosynthetic organisms are exposed to a fluctuating environment in which light intensity and quality change continuously. Specific illumination of either photosystem (PSI or PSII) creates an energy imbalance, leading to the reduction or oxidation of the intersystem electron transport chain. This redox imbalance could trigger the formation of dangerous reactive oxygen species. Cyanobacteria, like plants and algae, have developed a mechanism to re-balance this preferential excitation of either reaction center, called state transitions. State transitions are triggered by changes in the redox state of the membrane-soluble plastoquinone (PQ) pool. In plants and green algae, these changes in redox potential are sensed by Cytochrome b6f, which interacts with a specific kinase that triggers the movement of the main PSII antenna (the light-harvesting complex II). By contrast, although cyanobacterial state transitions have been studied extensively, there is still no agreement about the molecular mechanism, the PQ redox state sensor and the signaling pathways involved. In this review, we aimed to critically evaluate the results published on cyanobacterial state transitions, and discuss the “new” and “old” models in the subject. The phycobilisome and membrane contributions to this physiological process were addressed and the current hypotheses regarding its signaling transduction pathway were discussed.
- This article is part of the themed collections: 2020 Perspective article collection and The World Congress on Light and Life, Barcelona 2019