Abstract

Photosynthetic acclimation to temperature and irradiance was studied in the filamentous, non-heterocystous cyanobacterium Plectonema boryanum UTEX 485. Growth rates of this cyanobacterium measured at ambient CO2 were primarily influenced by temperature with minimal effects of irradiance. Both growth temperature and irradiance affected linolenic (18:3) and linoleic acid (18:2) levels in the four major lipid classes in an independent but additive manner. In contrast, photosynthetic acclimation was not due to either growth temperature or irradiance perse, but rather, due to the interaction of these environmental factors. P. boryanum grown at low temperature and moderate irradiance mimicked cells grown at high light. Compared to cells grown at either 29°C/150 μmol m−2 s−1 (29/150) or 15/10, P. boryanum grown at either 15/150 or 29/750 exhibited: (1) reduced cellular levels of Chl a and phycobilisomes (PBS), and concomitantly higher content of an orange-red carotenoid, myxoxanthophyll; (2) higher light saturated rates (Pmax) when expressed on a Chi a basis but lower apparent quantum yields of oxygen evolution and (3) enhanced resistance to high light stress. P. boryanum grown at 15/150 regained normal blue-green pigmentation within 16 h after a temperature shift to 29°C at a constant irradiance of 150 μmol m−2 s−1. DBMIB and KCN but not DCMU and atrazine partially inhibited the change in myxoxanthophyll/Chl a ratio following the shift from 15 to 29°C. We conclude that P. boryanum responds to either varying growth temperature or varying growth irradiance by adjusting the ability to absorb light through decreasing the cellular contents of Chl a and light-harvesting pigments and screening of excessive light by myxoxanthophyll predominantly localized in the cell wall/cell membrane to protect PSII from over-excitation. The possible role of redox sensing/signalling for photosynthetic acclimation of cyanobacteria to either temperature or irradiance is discussed.