Today’s highlight of research presented at the Cyanobacterial Workshop is a newly published paper from Calderon et al on Photosystem II assembly. Check out the expanding ‘Basics’ tab for more background information on aspects of photosynthesis. Of particular interest today is Photosystem II. Calderon and co-authors have identified a new PSII assembly factor.* They identified a rubredoxin protein required specifically for PSII accumulation in cyanobacteria, green algae and plants.
The study starts from a genetic screen of Chlamydomonas (that’s a green alga) for mutants that were not photosynthetic. One particular mutant, 2pac, was characterized to be specifically defective in PSII accumulation. Yes, that’s 2pac pronounced Tupac, but it really stands for second photosystem assembly component. Clever, no? What’s next? Kanye Western blots? The Jay-Z-scheme? I’m quite sure my research area now needs its own gang sign. Well, maybe we’ll just merge with the Crips or Bloods. I could write a funnier joke here on pigments, but we haven’t really covered that so I will abstain.
Anywhooo… Researchers identified the underlying gene mutation in the 2pac mutant as rubredoxin, a protein that is also found in all other photosynthetic organisms. This means that it likely plays a universally important role in PSII accumulation. So for good measure, Calderon and colleagues went ahead and made rubredoxin mutants in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis and the plant Arabidopsis. They found similar PSII deficiencies in these organisms as well. Future studies will focus on determining exactly how this protein contributes to PSII assembly.
Check out the links to the full text manuscript.**
*If you’re wondering what the significance of this is, go back and click on the Photosystem II link and catch up on the background info.
**I’ve noticed that for JBC, they allow access to the full-length accepted manuscript as it exists as a formatted document submitted by the authors, but not to the final official typeset version as it appears as a journal article.