Chromatic acclimation in cyanobacteria: A diverse and widespread process for optimizing photosynthesis

Joseph E. Sanfilippo, Laurence Garczarek, Frédéric Partensky, David M. Kehoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chromatic acclimation (CA) encompasses a diverse set of molecular processes that involve the ability of cyanobacterial cells to sense ambient light colors and use this information to optimize photosynthetic light harvesting. The six known types of CA, which we propose naming CA1 through CA6, use a range of molecular mechanisms that likely evolved independently in distantly related lineages of the Cyanobacteria phylum. Together, these processes sense and respond to the majority of the photosynthetically relevant solar spectrum, suggesting that CA provides fitness advantages across a broad range of light color niches. The recent discoveries of several new CA types suggest that additional CA systems involving additional light colors and molecular mechanisms will be revealed in coming years. Here we provide a comprehensive overview of the currently known types of CA and summarize the molecular details that underpin CA regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-433
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual review of microbiology
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cyanobacteria
  • Gene regulation
  • Light regulation
  • Photobiology
  • Signal-transduction photosynthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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