Photosynthesis research

Energy transfer in Anabaena variabilis filaments under nitrogen depletion, studied by time-resolved fluorescence.

PMID 25596847


Some filamentous cyanobacteria (including Anabaena) differentiate into heterocysts under nitrogen-depleted conditions. During differentiation, the phycobiliproteins and photosystem II in the heterocysts are gradually degraded. Nitrogen depletion induces changes in the pigment composition of both vegetative cells and heterocysts, which affect the excitation energy transfer processes. To investigate the changes in excitation energy transfer processes of Anabaena variabilis filaments grown in standard medium (BG11) and a nitrogen-free medium (BG110), we measured their steady-state absorption spectra, steady-state fluorescence spectra, and time-resolved fluorescence spectra (TRFS) at 77 K. TRFS were measured with a picosecond time-correlated single photon counting system. The pigment compositions of the filaments grown in BG110 changed throughout the growth period; the relative phycocyanin levels monotonically decreased, whereas the relative carotenoid (Car) levels decreased and then recovered to their initial value (at day 0), with formation of lower-energy Cars. Nitrogen starvation also altered the fluorescence kinetics of PSI; the fluorescence maximum of TRFS immediately after excitation occurred at 735, 740, and 730 nm after 4, 8, and 15 days growth in BG110, respectively. Based on these results, we discuss the excitation energy transfer dynamics of A. variabilis filaments under the nitrogen-depleted condition throughout the growth period.