Cyanobacterial photosynthesis under sulfidic conditions: Insights from the isolate Leptolyngbya sp. strain hensonii

Trinity L. Hamilton, Judith M. Klatt, Dirk De Beer, Jennifer L. Macalady

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36 Scopus citations


We report the isolation of a pinnacle-forming cyanobacterium isolated from a microbial mat covering the sediment surface at Little Salt Spring - a flooded sinkhole in Florida with a perennially microoxic and sulfidic water column. The draft genome of the isolate encodes all of the enzymatic machinery necessary for both oxygenic and anoxygenic photosynthesis, as well as genes for methylating hopanoids at the C-2 position. The physiological response of the isolate to H 2 S is complex: (i) no induction time is necessary for anoxygenic photosynthesis; (ii) rates of anoxygenic photosynthesis are regulated by both H 2 S and irradiance; (iii) O 2 production is inhibited by H 2 S concentrations as low as 1 μM and the recovery rate of oxygenic photosynthesis is dependent on irradiance; (iv) under the optimal light conditions for oxygenic photosynthesis, rates of anoxygenic photosynthesis are nearly double those of oxygenic photosynthesis. We hypothesize that the specific adaptation mechanisms of the isolate to H 2 S emerged from a close spatial interaction with sulfate-reducing bacteria. The new isolate, Leptolyngbya sp. strain hensonii, is not closely related to other well-characterized Cyanobacteria that can perform anoxygenic photosynthesis, which further highlights the need to characterize the diversity and biogeography of metabolically versatile Cyanobacteria. The isolate will be an ideal model organism for exploring the adaptation of Cyanobacteria to sulfidic conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-584
Number of pages17
JournalISME Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

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