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Keywords:

  • cyanobacteria;
  • photosynthesis;
  • reactive oxygen species;
  • antioxidants;
  • transcriptional regulation

Abstract

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are byproducts of aerobic metabolism and potent agents that cause oxidative damage. In oxygenic photosynthetic organisms such as cyanobacteria, ROS are inevitably generated by photosynthetic electron transport, especially when the intensity of light-driven electron transport outpaces the rate of electron consumption during CO2 fixation. Because cyanobacteria in their natural habitat are often exposed to changing external conditions, such as drastic fluctuations of light intensities, their ability to perceive ROS and to rapidly initiate antioxidant defences is crucial for their survival. This review summarizes recent findings and outlines important perspectives in this field.