SUMMARY: The effect of transcriptional and translational inhibitors on growth and on the light acclimation of the photosynthesis antennae of was examined after a shift from white incandescent light (300 μE s m) to red light (15 μE s m). Addition of antibiotics that inhibit transcription (rifampicin) or translation (streptomycin, chloramphenicol and kanamycin) immediately blocked cell growth, and RNA and protein synthesis, when added either early or later after the light shift. The ratio of phycocyanin to chlorophyll stayed constant. Addition of the antibiotics shortly after the shift also immediately blocked the increase in the ratios of phycocyanin and chlorophyll to cell mass, whereas later addition resulted in decreases of about 50% and 12 to 30% in these ratios with rifampicin and streptomycin, respectively. No changes in pigment content were found when the antibiotics were added during steady state conditions with white or red light. The results show that both phycocyanin and chlorophyll light acclimations are immediately and completely blocked by the addition of both transcriptional and translational inhibitors. We also propose that the light antennae may exist in an unstable form in the course of the acclimation process.


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