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Eukaryotic algae are photosynthetic organisms capable of exploiting sunlight to fix carbon dioxide into biomass with highly variable genetic and metabolic features. Information on algae metabolism from different species is inhomogeneous and, while green algae are, in general, more characterized, information on red algae is relatively scarce despite their relevant position in eukaryotic algae diversity. Within red algae, the best-known species are extremophiles or multicellular, while information on mesophilic unicellular organisms is still lacunose. Here, we investigate the photosynthetic properties of a recently isolated seawater unicellular mesophilic red alga, Dixoniella giordanoi. Upon exposure to different illuminations, D. giordanoi shows the ability to acclimate, modulate chlorophyll content, and re-organize thylakoid membranes. Phycobilisome content is also largely regulated, leading to almost complete disassembly of this antenna system in cells grown under intense illumination. Despite the absence of a light-induced xanthophyll cycle, cells accumulate zeaxanthin upon prolonged exposure to strong light, likely contributing to photoprotection. D. giordanoi cells show the ability to perform cyclic electron transport that is enhanced under strong illumination, likely contributing to the protection of Photosystem I from over-reduction and enabling cells to survive PSII photoinhibition without negative impact on growth. © 2021 The Authors. Physiologia Plantarum published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Scandinavian Plant Physiology Society.


Nicolò Fattore, Simone Savio, Antoni M Vera-Vives, Mariano Battistuzzi, Isabella Moro, Nicoletta La Rocca, Tomas Morosinotto. Acclimation of photosynthetic apparatus in the mesophilic red alga Dixoniella giordanoi. Physiologia plantarum. 2021 Nov;173(3):805-817

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PMID: 34171145

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