The sll1703 gene, encoding an Arabidopsis homologue of the thylakoid membrane-associated SppA peptidase, was inactivated by interposon mutagenesis in Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803. Upon acclimation from a light intensity of 50 to 150 μE m−2 s−1, the mutant preserved most of its phycobilisome content, whereas the wild-type strain developed a bleaching phenotype due to the loss of about 40% of its phycobiliproteins. Using in vivo and in vitro experiments, we demonstrate that the ΔsppA1 strain does not undergo the cleavage of the LR33 and LCM99 linker proteins that develops in the wild type exposed to increasing light intensities. We conclude that a major contribution to light acclimation under a moderate light regime in cyanobacteria originates from an SppA1-mediated cleavage of phycobilisome linker proteins. Together with changes in gene expression of the major phycobiliproteins, it contributes an additional mechanism aimed at reducing the content in phycobilisome antennae upon acclimation to a higher light intensity.