Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2016

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Biology & Biomedical Sciences (Plant & Microbial Biosciences)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Cyanobacteria are unicellular photosynthetic microorganisms that capture and convert light energy to chemical energy, which is the precursor for feed, fuel, and food. These oxygenic phototrophs appear blue-green in color due to the blue bilin pigments in their phycobilisomes and green chlorophyll pigments in their photosystems. They also have diverse morphologies, and thrive in terrestrial, marine water, fresh water, as well as extreme environments. Cyanobacteria have developed a number of protective mechanisms and adaptive responses that allow the photosynthetic process to operate optimally under diverse and extreme conditions. Prolonged deprivation of essential nutrients, such as nitrogen and sulfur, commonly found in the natural environments cyanobacteria grow in, can disrupt crucial metabolic activities and promote the production of lethal reactive oxygen species. The dynamic remodeling of protein complexes and structures facilitates adaptation to environmental stresses, however, specific protein modifications are poorly understood. Synthetic and systems biology approaches have been used to study how photosynthetic microorganisms optimize their cellular metabolism in response to adverse environmental conditions. To gain insights on how cyanobacteria cope with environmental changes, we created a global proteomics map of redox-sensitive amino acid residues and examined the degradation of light harvesting apparatus in cyanobacteria. These studies offered significant insights into the broad redox regulation and protein degradation, advancing knowledge of how photosynthetic microbial cells dynamically rely on protective mechanisms to survive changing environmental conditions.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Himadri B. Pakrasi

Committee Members

Robert E. Blankenship, Joseph M. Jez, Thomas J. Smith, Richard D. Vierstra


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/doi:10.7936/K7RV0M21

Included in

Biology Commons