Phylogenetic and spectroscopic insights on the evolution of core antenna proteins in cyanobacteria

Sandeep Biswas, Dariusz M. Niedzwiedzki, Michelle Liberton, Himadri B. Pakrasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Light harvesting by antenna systems is the initial step in a series of electron-transfer reactions in all photosynthetic organisms, leading to energy trapping by reaction center proteins. Cyanobacteria are an ecologically diverse group and are the simplest organisms capable of oxygenic photosynthesis. The primary light-harvesting antenna in cyanobacteria is the large membrane extrinsic pigment-protein complex called the phycobilisome. In addition, cyanobacteria have also evolved specialized membrane-intrinsic chlorophyll-binding antenna proteins that transfer excitation energy to the reaction centers of photosystems I and II (PSI and PSII) and dissipate excess energy through nonphotochemical quenching. Primary among these are the CP43 and CP47 proteins of PSII, but in addition, some cyanobacteria also use IsiA and the prochlorophyte chlorophyll a/b binding (Pcb) family of proteins. Together, these proteins comprise the CP43 family of proteins owing to their sequence similarity with CP43. In this article, we have revisited the evolution of these chlorophyll-binding antenna proteins by examining their protein sequences in parallel with their spectral properties. Our phylogenetic and spectroscopic analyses support the idea of a common ancestor for CP43, IsiA, and Pcb proteins, and suggest that PcbC might be a distant ancestor of IsiA. The similar spectral properties of CP47 and IsiA suggest a closer evolutionary relationship between these proteins compared to CP43.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhotosynthesis Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Antenna proteins
  • Chlorophyll
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Evolution
  • Phylogeny
  • Spectroscopy


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