Stress Responses in Cyanobacteria

  • Rajeshwar P. Sinha


Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) are phylogenetically a primitive group of Gram-negative prokaryotes, being the only bacteria to possess higher plant-type oxygenic photosynthesis. Fossil evidence dates their appearance to the Precambrian era (between 2.8 and 3.5 × 109 years ago). At that time, they were probably the main primary producers of organic matter and the first organisms to release oxygen into the then- oxygen-free atmosphere. Thus cyanobacteria were responsible for a major global evolutionary transformation leading to the development of aerobic metabolism and the subsequent rise of higher plant and animal forms (Walter et al., 1992; Schopf, 1993; Pace, 1997). As a group, cyanobacteria are thought to have survived a wide spectrum of environmental stresses, such as heat, cold, drought, salinity, nitrogen starvation, photooxidation, anaerobiosis, and osmotic and ultraviolet radiation stress (Fay, 1992; Tandeau de Marsac & Houmard, 1993; Sinha and Häder 1996a). The cosmopolitan distribution of cyanobacteria, ranging from hot springs to Antarctic and Arctic regions; their colonization of oceans, lakes, rivers, and various soils; and their presence as symbiotic organisms in fungi and plants demand high variability in adapting to diverse environmental factors.


Nucleotide Excision Repair Rice Paddy Field Anoxygenic Photosynthesis Linker Polypeptide Terrestrial Cyanobacterium 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rajeshwar P. Sinha
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Botany and Pharmaceutical BiologyFriedrich-Alexander UniversityErlangenFed. Rep. Germany

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