Evolutionary Relationships Among Type I Photosynthetic Reaction Centers
The evolutionary history of photosynthetic reaction centers has been marked by a dramatic increase in subunit and cofactor complexity among the photosystems of oxygenic photosynthetic organisms, including plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. Comparative structural and sequence analysis has made a convincing case for the common ancestry of all tetrapyrrole-based reaction centers, and the combined reaction center family is noteworthy in that multiple evolutionary developmental stages can still be found and studied in extant phototrophs. Photosystem I in particular has expanded from a two-domain homodimeric reaction center with integrated antenna and core electron transfer cofactors, to a multisubunit complex with nearly 130 total cofactors and up to 15 closely interacting subunits in some organisms. Here we discuss some of the notable events in the evolution of Photosystem I that have occurred during this dramatic increase in structural complexity, some of which are lineage-specific while others must have happened before the divergence of plastids and cyanobacteria, possibly with direct relevance to the development of oxygenic photosynthesis.
KeywordsReaction Center Green Sulfur Bacterium Reaction Center Complex Nostoc Punctiforme Oxygenic Photosynthetic Organism
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