Physiological and proteomic characterization of light adaptations in marine Synechococcus. Academic Article uri icon


  • Marine Synechococcus thrive over a range of light regimes in the ocean. We examined the proteomic, genomic and physiological responses of seven Synechococcus isolates to moderate irradiances (5-80 ?E m-2 s-1 ), and show that Synechococcus spans a continuum of light responses ranging from low light optimized (LLO) to high light optimized (HLO). These light responses are linked to phylogeny and pigmentation. Marine sub-cluster 5.1A isolates with higher phycouribilin: phycoerythrobilin ratios fell toward the LLO end of the continuum, while sub-cluster 5.1B, 5.2 and estuarine Synechococcus with less phycouribilin fell toward the HLO end of the continuum. Global proteomes were highly responsive to light, with > 50% of abundant proteins varying more than twofold between the lowest and highest irradiance. All strains downregulated phycobilisome proteins with increasing irradiance. Regulation of proteins involved in photosynthetic electron transport, carbon fixation, oxidative stress protection (superoxide dismutases) and iron and nitrogen metabolism varied among strains, as did the number of high light inducible protein (Hlip) and DNA photolyase genes in their genomes. All but one LLO strain possessed the photoprotective orange carotenoid protein (OCP). The unique combinations of light responses in each strain gives rise to distinct photophysiological phenotypes that may affect Synechococcus distributions in the ocean.

publication date

  • June 2017