The Molecular Biology of Cyanobacteria summarizes more than a decade of progress in analyzing the taxonomy, biochemistry, physiology, cellular differentiation and developmental biology of cyanobacteria by modern molecular methods, especially molecular genetics. During this period cyanobacterial molecular biologists have been `studying those things that cyanobacteria do well', and they have made cyanobacteria the organisms of choice for detailed molecular analyses of oxygenic photosynthesis. Part 1 contains chapters describing the molecular evolution and taxonomy of the cyanobacteria, as well as chapters describing cyanelles and the origins of algal and higher plant chloroplasts. Also included are chapters describing the picoplanktonic, oceanic cyanobacteria and prochlorophytes, `the other cyanobacteria'. Part 2 is devoted to a detailed description of structural and functional aspects of the cyanobacterial photosynthetic apparatus. Included are chapters on thylakoid membrane organization, phycobiliproteins, and phycobilisomes, Photosystem I, Photosystem II, the cytochrome b6f complex, ATP synthase, and soluble electron carriers associated with photosynthetic electron transport. Structure, as it relates to biological function, is heavily emphasized in this portion of the book. Part 3 describes other important biochemical processes, including respiration, carbon metabolism, inorganic carbon uptake and concentration, nitrogen metabolism, tetrapyrrole biosynthesis, and carotenoid biosynthesis. Part 4 describes the cyanobacterial genetic systems and gene regulatory phenomena in these organisms.
Emphasis is placed on responses to environmental stimuli, such as light intensity, light wavelength, temperature, and nutrient availability. Cellular differentiation and development phenomena, including the formation of heterocysts for nitrogen fixation and hormogonia for dispersal of organisms in the environment, are described.
The book comprises 28 chapters written by leading experts from Europe, Israel, Japan, and the United States.
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