A big congratulations to Rachel for her work that appears in PNAS today! Rachel found that the stringent response, a starvation response mediated by the nucleotide ppGpp, helps regulate the physiological transition of cyanobacteria when they are switched from the light to the dark. This paper ties together a number of historical works that noted rapid physiological changes when cyanobacteria experience the dark. Most interestingly, it gives us a new pathway and numerous genes downstream of ppGpp that likely influence how a photosynthetic cell uniquely adapts to the rapidly changing conditions found in its environment.
Citation: The stringent response regulates adaptation to darkness in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus. Rachel D. Hood, Sean A. Higgins, Avi Flamholz, Robert J. Nichols, and David F. Savage. PNAS 2016 ; published ahead of print August 2, 2016, doi:10.1073/pnas.1524915113