Photosynthetic characterization of developing and mature akinetes of Aphanizomenon ovalisporum (Cyanoprokaryota)

Assaf Sukenik, John Beardall, Ora Hadas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Akinetes, differentiated resting cells produced by many species of filamentous, heterocystous cyanobacteria, enable the organism to survive adverse conditions, such as cold winters and dry seasons, and to maintain germination capabilities until the onset of suitable conditions for vegetative growth. Mature akinetes maintain a limited level of metabolic activities, including photosynthesis. In the present study, we have characterized changes in the photosynthetic apparatus of vegetative cells and akinetes of the cyanobacterium Aphanizomenon ovalisporum Forti (Nostocales) during their development and maturation. Photosynthetic variable fluorescence was measured by microscope-PAM (pulse-amplitude-modulated) fluorometry, and the fundamental composition of the photosynthetic apparatus was evaluated by fluorescence and immunological techniques. Vegetative cells and akinetes from samples of Aphanizomenon trichomes from akinete-induced cultures at various ages demonstrated a gradual reduction, with age, in the maximal photosynthetic quantum yield in both cell types. However, the maximal quantum yield of akinetes declined slightly faster than that of their adjacent vegetative cells. Mature akinetes isolated from 6- to 8-week-old akinete-induced cultures maintained only residual photosynthetic activity, as indicated by very low values of maximal photosynthetic quantum yields. Based on 77 K fluorescence emission data and immunodetection of PSI and PSII polypeptides, we concluded that the ratio of PSI to PSII reaction centers in mature akinetes is slightly higher than the ratio estimated for exponentially grown vegetative cells. Furthermore, the cellular abundance of these protein complexes substantially increased in akinetes relative to exponentially grown vegetative cells, presumably due to considerable increase in the biovolume of akinetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-788
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Phycology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Akinetes
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Cyanoprokaryota
  • Fluorescence spectra
  • Photosynthesis
  • Photosystem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Photosynthetic characterization of developing and mature akinetes of Aphanizomenon ovalisporum (Cyanoprokaryota)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this