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In vitro and in vivo characterisation of the OCP-related photoprotective mechanism in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC6803

Abstract : Strong light can cause damage and be lethal for photosynthetic organisms. An increase of thermal dissipation of excess absorbed energy at the level of photosynthetic antenna is one of the processes protecting against deleterious effects of light. In cyanobacteria, a soluble photoactive carotenoid binding protein, Orange Carotenoid Protein (OCP) mediates this process. The photoactivated OCP by interacting with the core of phycobilisome (PB; the major photosynthetic antenna of cyanobacteria) triggers the photoprotective mechanism, which decreases the energy arriving at the reaction centres and PSII fluorescence. The excess energy is dissipated as harmless heat. To regain full PB capacity in low light intensities, theFluorescence Recovery Protein (FRP) is required. FRP accelerates the deactivation of OCP.In this work, I present my input in the understanding of the mechanism underlying the OCPrelated photoprotection. I further characterized the FRP of Synechocystis PCC6803, the model organism in our studies. I established that the Synechocystis FRP is shorter than what it was proposed in Cyanobase and it begins at Met26. Our results also revealed the great importance of a high OCP to FRP ratio for existence of photoprotection. The most remarkable achievement of this thesis is the in vitro reconstitution of the OCPrelated mechanism using isolated OCP, PB and FRP. I demonstrated that light is only needed for OCP photoactivation but OCP binding to PB is light independent. Only the photoactivated OCP is able to bind the PB and quench all its fluorescence. Based on our in vitro experiments we proposed a molecular model of OCP-related photoprotection. The in vitro reconstituted system was applied to examine the importance of a conserved salt bridge (Arg155-Glu244) between the two domains of OCP and showed that this salt bridge stabilises the inactive form of OCP. During photoactivation this salt bridge is broken and Arg155 is involved in the interaction between the OCP and the PB. The site of OCP binding in the core of a PB wasalso investigated with the in vitro reconstituted system. Our results demonstrated that the terminal energy emitters of the PB are not needed and that the first site of fluorescence quenching is an APC trimer emitting at 660 nm. Finally, we characterised the properties of excited states of the carotenoid in the photoactivated OCP showing that one of these states presents a very pronounced charge transfer character that likely has a principal role in energy dissipation. Our results strongly suggested that the OCP not only induces thermal energy dissipation but also acts as the energy dissipator.
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Michal Gwizdala. In vitro and in vivo characterisation of the OCP-related photoprotective mechanism in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC6803. Agricultural sciences. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012PA112288⟩. ⟨tel-00815618⟩

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