Combining retinal-based and chlorophyll-based (oxygenic) photosynthesis: Proteorhodopsin expression increases growth rate and fitness of a ∆PSI strain of Synechocystis sp. PCC6803
Metab Eng. 2019, 52:68-76
Chen Q, Arents J, Schuurmans JM, Ganapathy S, de Grip WJ, Cheregi O, Funk C, Dos Santos FB, Hellingwerf KJ

To fill the "green absorption gap", a green absorbing proteorhodopsin was expressed in a PSI-deletion strain (ΔPSI) of Synechocystis sp. PCC6803. Growth-rate measurements, competition experiments and physiological characterization of the proteorhodopsin-expressing strains, relative to the ΔPSI control strain, allow us to conclude that proteorhodopsin can enhance the rate of photoheterotrophic growth of ΔPSI Synechocystis strain. The physiological characterization included measurement of the amount of residual glucose in the spent medium and analysis of oxygen uptake- and production rates. To explore the use of solar radiation beyond the PAR region, a red-shifted variant Proteorhodopsin-D212N/F234S was expressed in a retinal-deficient PSI-deletion strain (ΔPSI/ΔSynACO). Via exogenous addition of retinal analogue an infrared absorbing pigment (maximally at 740 nm) was reconstituted in vivo. However, upon illumination with 746 nm light, it did not significantly stimulate the growth (rate) of this mutant. The inability of the proteorhodopsin-expressing ΔPSI strain to grow photoautotrophically is most likely due to a kinetic rather than a thermodynamic limitation of its NADPH-dehydrogenase in NADP+-reduction.

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