Glycogen Synthesis and Metabolite Overflow Contribute to Energy Balancing in Cyanobacteria

Jianping Yu, Steven Holland, Juliana Artier, Rob Burnap, John Morgan, Melissa Cano, Maria Ghirardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus Citations


Understanding how living cells manage high-energy metabolites such as ATP and NADPH is essential for understanding energy transformations in the biosphere. Using light as the energy input, we find that energy charge (ratio of ATP over ADP+ATP) in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 varies in different growth stages, with a peak upon entry into the rapid growth phase, as well as a positive correlation with light intensity. In contrast, a mutant that can no longer synthesize the main carbon storage compound glycogen showed higher energy charge. The overflow of organic acids in this mutant under nitrogen depletion could also be triggered under high light in nitrogen-replete conditions, with an energy input level dependency. These findings suggest that energy charge in cyanobacteria is tightly linked to growth and carbon partition and that energy management is of key significance for their application as photosynthetic carbon dioxide-assimilating cell factories. Cano et al. find that ATP levels in a cyanobacterium are dynamic in growth phases and respond to intracellular and environmental conditions. A glycogen mutant excretes organic acids and adjusts photosynthesis as alternative strategies to maintain energy homeostasis.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)667-672
Number of pages6
JournalCell Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-67134


  • cyanobacteria
  • energy charge
  • glycogen
  • overflow metabolism
  • photosynthesis
  • synechocystis


Dive into the research topics of 'Glycogen Synthesis and Metabolite Overflow Contribute to Energy Balancing in Cyanobacteria'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this