photosynthesis found in insects - via Nature
and the paper (outside their paywall!)
Light-induced electron transfer and ATP synthesis in a carotene synthesizing insect
Jean Christophe Valmalette1, Aviv Dombrovsky2,4, Pierre Brat3, Christian Mertz3, Maria Capovilla4 & Alain Robichon4
1IM2NP UMR 7334 CNRS, Universite ́ du Sud Toulon Var, P.O. Box 20132, 83957 La Garde CEDEX, France, 2Volcani Center, Institute of Plant Protection, P.O. Box 6, 50250 Bet Dagan, Israel, 3CIRAD UMR QualiSud, 73 rue J.F. Breton, TA B-95/16, 34398 Montpellier CEDEX 5, France, 4UMR7254 INRA/CNRS/UNS, Institut Sophia Agrobiotech, 400 route des Chappes, P. O. Box 167, 06903 Sophia Antipolis, France.
A singular adaptive phenotype of a parthenogenetic insect species (Acyrthosiphon pisum) was selected in cold conditions and is characterized by a remarkable apparition of a greenish colour. The aphid pigments involve carotenoid genes well defined in chloroplasts and cyanobacteria and amazingly present in the aphid genome, likely by lateral transfer during evolution. The abundant carotenoid synthesis in aphids suggests strongly that a major and unknown physiological role is related to these compounds beyond their canonical anti-oxidant properties. We report here that the capture of light energy in living aphids results in the photo induced electron transfer from excited chromophores to acceptor molecules. The redox potentials of molecules involved in this process would be compatible with the reduction of the NAD1 coenzyme. This appears as an archaic photosynthetic system consisting of photo-emitted electrons that are in fine funnelled into the mitochondrial reducing power in order to synthesize ATP molecules.