[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fur (ferric uptake regulator) proteins are principally responsible for maintaining iron homeostasis in prokaryotes. Iron is usually a scarce resource. Its limitation reduces photosynthetic rates and cell growth in cyanobacteria in general and especially in cyanobacteria that are fixing dinitrogen, a process that requires the synthesis of numerous proteins with a high content of iron. This paper shows that in the diazotrophic cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120, levels of furA mRNA and FurA protein increase significantly in response to nitrogen deprivation, and that furA up-regulation takes place specifically in proheterocysts and mature heterocysts. Great differences in a Northern blot, probed with furA, of RNA from an ntcA mutant relative to wild-type Anabaena sp. were attributable to binding of NtcA, a global regulator of nitrogen metabolism, to the promoter of furA and to the promoter of the furA antisense transcript alr1690-alpha-furA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cyanobacteria are oxygenic photosynthetic bacteria that have been used increasingly to study diverse biological processes, including photosynthesis and its regulation; cell differentiation and N2 fixation; metabolism of nitrogen, carbon, and hydrogen; resistance to environmental stresses; and molecular evolution. Many vectors and other genetic tools have been developed for unicellular and filamentous strains of cyanobacteria. Transformation, electroporation, and conjugation are used for gene transfer. Diverse methods of mutagenesis allow the isolation of many sought-for kinds of mutants, including site-directed mutants of specific genes. Reporter genes permit measurement of the level of transcription of particular genes, and assays of transcription within individual colonies or within individual cells in a filament. Complete genomic sequences have been obtained for the unicellular cyanobacterium, Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 and the filamentous, heterocyst-forming cyanobacterium, Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120. Genomic sequence projects are under way for Nostoc punctiforme strain PCC 73102 (ATCC 29133) and strains of the unicellular genera, Synechococcus, Prochlorococcus, and Gloeobacter. Genomic sequence data provide the opportunity for global monitoring of changes in genetic expression at transcriptional and translational levels in response to variations in environmental conditions. The availability of genomic sequences accelerates the identification, study, modification and comparison of cyanobacterial genes, and facilitates analysis of evolutionary relationships, including the relationship of chloroplasts to ancient cyanobacteria. The many available genetic tools enhance the opportunities for possible biotechnological applications of cyanobacteria.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In many filamentous cyanobacteria, vegetative cells can differentiate into heterocysts, cells that are specialized for aerobic fixation of N(2). Synthesis of the heterocyst envelope polysaccharide is dependent on the gene hepA in Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120. In search of genes that are involved in the regulation of hepA, we transposon mutagenized strain DR1069, which bears a chromosomal hepA::luxAB fusion. One resulting mutant, designated HNL3, grows normally in medium with nitrate and shows poor induction of hepA in response to nitrogen deprivation. In HNL3, transposon Tn5-1058 is inserted within gene hcwA, a constitutively expressed open reading frame whose predicted product resembles N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidases. Reconstruction of the mutation confirmed that the mutant phenotype resulted from the insertion of the transposon. The induction of hepA in HNL3 is partially restored upon recombination of HNL3 with plasmid-borne, wild-type hcwA. Moreover, HcwA expressed in Escherichia coli exhibits wall-lytic activity. These results suggest that the degradation, or possibly reconstruction, of the cell peptidoglycan layer is a prerequisite for heterocyst maturation.
Journal of Bacteriology 01/2002; 183(23):6841-51. DOI:10.1128/JB.183.23.6841-6851.2001 · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nucleotide sequence of the entire genome of a filamentous cyanobacterium, Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120, was determined. The genome of Anabaena consisted of a single chromosome (6,413,771 bp) and six plasmids, designated pCC7120alpha (408,101 bp), pCC7120beta (186,614 bp), pCC7120gamma (101,965 bp), pCC7120delta (55,414 bp), pCC7120epsilon (40,340 bp), and pCC7120zeta (5,584 bp). The chromosome bears 5368 potential protein-encoding genes, four sets of rRNA genes, 48 tRNA genes representing 42 tRNA species, and 4 genes for small structural RNAs. The predicted products of 45% of the potential protein-encoding genes showed sequence similarity to known and predicted proteins of known function, and 27% to translated products of hypothetical genes. The remaining 28% lacked significant similarity to genes for known and predicted proteins in the public DNA databases. More than 60 genes involved in various processes of heterocyst formation and nitrogen fixation were assigned to the chromosome based on their similarity to the reported genes. One hundred and ninety-five genes coding for components of two-component signal transduction systems, nearly 2.5 times as many as those in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, were identified on the chromosome. Only 37% of the Anabaena genes showed significant sequence similarity to those of Synechocystis, indicating a high degree of divergence of the gene information between the two cyanobacterial strains.
DNA Research 11/2001; 8(5):205-13; 227-53. DOI:10.1093/dnares/8.5.205 · 4.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nitrogen-deprived filaments of wild-type or hetC Anabaena sp. produce respectively, at semiregular intervals, heterocysts and weakly fluorescent cells. Unlike heterocysts, the latter cells can divide and elongate, producing a pattern of spaced series of small cells. Because a hetR::gfp fusion is expressed most strongly in the small cells, we propose that these small cells represent a very early stage of heterocyst differentiation. hetC::gfp is expressed most strongly in proheterocysts and heterocysts.
Journal of Bacteriology 02/2001; 183(1):393-6. DOI:10.1128/JB.183.1.393-396.2001 · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Salt-induced genes in the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 were identified by use of a Tn5-based transposon bearing luxAB as a reporter. The genomic sequence adjacent to one site of insertion of the transposon was identical in part to the sequence of the lti2 gene, which was previously identified in a differential screen for cold-induced transcripts in Anabaena variabilis. The lti2-like gene was induced by sucrose and other osmotica and by low temperature, in addition to salt. Regulatory components necessary for the induction of this gene by osmotica were sought by a further round of transposon mutagenesis. One mutant that displayed reduced transcriptional activity of the lti2-like gene in response to exposure to osmotica had an insertion in an open reading frame, which was denoted orrA, whose predicted product showed sequence similarity to response regulators from two-component regulatory systems. The corresponding mutation was reconstructed and was shown, like the second-site transposon mutation, to result in reduced response to osmotic stress. Induction of the lux reporter gene by osmotica was restored by complementation with a genomic fragment containing the entire open reading frame for the presumptive response regulator, whereas a fragment containing a truncated copy of the open reading frame for the response regulator did not complement the mutation.
Journal of Bacteriology 01/1999; 180(23):6332-7. · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Anabaena spp., synthesis of the heterocyst envelope polysaccharide, required if the cell is to fix dinitrogen under aerobic conditions, is dependent on the gene hepA. A transcriptional start site of hepA was localized 104 bp 5' from its translational initiation codon. A 765-bp open reading frame, denoted hepC, was found farther upstream. Inactivation of hepC led to constitutive expression of hepA and prevented the synthesis of heterocyst envelope polysaccharide. However, the glycolipid layer of the heterocyst envelope was synthesized. A hepK mutation blocked both the synthesis of the heterocyst envelope polysaccharide and induction of hepA. The predicted product of hepK resembles a sensory protein-histidine kinase of a two-component regulatory system. Analysis of the region between hepC and hepA indicated that DNA sequences required for the induction of hepA upon nitrogen deprivation are present between bp -574 and -440 and between bp -340 and -169 relative to the transcriptional start site of hepA. Gel mobility shift assays provided evidence that one or more proteins bind specifically to the latter sequence. The Fox box sequence downstream from hepA appeared inessential for the induction of hepA.
Journal of Bacteriology 09/1998; 180(16):4233-42. · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In strain NE1 of Tn5-1058-mutagenized Nostoc ellipsosporum, the transposon was found within a gene whose translation product is similar in amino acid sequence to the arginine-biosynthetic protein N-acetylglutamate semialdehyde dehydrogenase encoded by argC of Bacillus subtilis. The argC reported from Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 hybridized to a sequence different from the one interrupted by the transposon in NE1. The newly identified gene from N. ellipsosporum was denoted argL. The argL mutation renders certain processes in strain NE1 conditionally dependent on provision of L-arginine. Heterocysts and apparent akinetes that formed in the absence of added L-arginine failed to fix dinitrogen or to germinate, respectively, and lacked granules of cyanophycin, composed of copolymers of arginine and aspartic acid. However, apparent akinetes that differentiated upon growth of the mutant in the presence of L-arginine plus nitrate formed cyanophycin granules and could regenerate a new culture.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transposon-generated mutant C3 of Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 is unable to form heterocysts upon deprivation of combined nitrogen but forms a pattern of spaced, weakly fluorescent cells after 2 days of deprivation. Sequence analysis of chromosomal DNA adjacent to the ends of transposon Tn5-1058 in mutant C3 showed a 1,044-amino-acid open reading frame, designated hetC, whose predicted protein product throughout its C-terminal two-thirds has extensive similarity to the HlyB family of bacterial protein exporters. Its N-terminal third is unique and does not resemble any known protein. hetC lies 1,165 bp 5' from the previously described gene hetP. Reconstruction of the C3 mutation and its complementation in trans with a wild-type copy of hetC confirmed that hetC has an essential regulatory role early in heterocyst development. hetC is induced ca. 4 h after nitrogen stepdown, hours after induction of hetR. Expression of hetC depends on HetR and may depend on HetC. Highly similar sequences are present 5' from the initiation codons and in the 3' untranslated regions of hetC and of two heterocyst-specific genes, devA and hetP.
Journal of Bacteriology 12/1997; 179(22):6971-8. · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fox- mutants of Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 are unable to fix dinitrogen in the presence of oxygen. A fragment of the DNA of Anabaena sp. was cloned by complementation of a spontaneous Fox-, cyanophage-resistant mutant, R56, and characterized. Random insertion of transposon Tn5 delimited the complementing DNA to a 0.6-kb portion of the cloned fragment. Sequencing of this region and flanking DNA showed one complete open reading frame (ORF) similar to the gene rfbP (undecaprenyl-phosphate galactosephosphotransferase) and two partial ORFs similar to genes rfbD (GDP-D-mannose dehydratase) and rfbZ (first mannosyl transferase), all of which are active in the synthesis of the O antigen unit of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) component of the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria. In a transposon (Tn5-1087b)-induced, Fox-, cyanophage-resistant mutant, B14, the transposon was found within the same rfbP-like ORF. The three ORFs were insertionally inactivated with the omega cassette (P. Prentki and H. M. Krisch, Gene 29:303-313, 1984) or with Tn5::omega. Only the insertions in the rfbZ- and rfbP-like ORFs led to resistance to cyanophages A-1(L) and A-4(L) and to a Fox- phenotype. Electrophoretic analysis showed that interruption of the rfbZ- and rfbP-like ORFs resulted in a change in or loss of the characteristic pattern of the lengths of the LPS, whereas interruption of the rfbD-like ORF merely changed the distribution of the lengths of the LPS to one with a greater prevalence of low molecular weights. According to electron microscopy, interruption of the rfbP-like ORF may have led to aberrant deposition of the layers of the heterocyst envelope, resulting in increased leakage of oxygen into the heterocyst. The results suggest that modified LPS may prevent cyanophage infection of Anabaena sp. vegetative cells and the formation of a functional heterocyst envelope.
Journal of Bacteriology 06/1997; 179(9):2884-91. · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The efficiency of conjugal transfer of plasmids from Escherichia coli to the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 was quantitated as a function of the number of restriction sites for the restriction enzymes carried by the recipient. In addition to the previously recognized isoschizomers of AvaI and AvaII, PCC 7120 was found to possess an isoschizomer of AvaIII. Plasmids modified in E. coli with methylases that protect in vitro against restriction by the three enzymes were transferred with high efficiency, nearly independent of the number of restriction sites on the plasmid. Plasmids left unprotected against one of the three restriction enzymes were transferred with lower efficiencies. For low numbers of sites, the efficiency of conjugal transfer decreased as an exponential function of the number of unprotected sites. The methods presented may be used to increase the efficiency of conjugal transfer into restriction-competent bacteria.
Journal of Bacteriology 04/1997; 179(6):1998-2005. · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 adapts to deprivation of fixed nitrogen by undergoing physiological and genetic changes that include formation of N2-fixing heterocysts. Whether or not certain of the genes involved are interdependently expressed has been studied.
Journal of Bacteriology 02/1997; 179(1):267-71. · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A transposon bearing luxAB, encoding luciferase, as a reporter of transcription was used to identify genes that are activated rapidly upon deprivation of Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 of fixed nitrogen. The three transposon-marked loci that were identified as responding most rapidly and strongly are closely linked and situated within nirA and nrtC and between nrtD and narB, genes whose products are responsible for uptake and reduction of NO2- and NO3-. A strain bearing a transcriptional fusion of narB to luxAB was constructed. Luminescence catalyzed by LuxAB was used to report on the expression of the interrupted genes. Whether these genes are regulated only coordinately is discussed.
Journal of Bacteriology 02/1997; 179(1):258-66. · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The highly pleiotropic, transposon-generated mutant AB22 of Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 exhibits slow growth, altered pigmentation, cellular fragility, resistance to phage A-4(L), and the inability to differentiate heterocysts. Reconstruction of the transposon mutation in the wild-type strain reproduced the phenotype of the original mutant. Sequencing of the flanking DNA showed that the transposon had inserted at the beginning of a gene, which we call hanA, that encodes Anabaena HU protein (R. Nagaraja and R. Haselkorn, Biochimie 76:1082-1089, 1994). Mapping of the transposon insertion by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis showed that hanA is located at ca. 4.76 Mb on the physical map of the chromosome and is transcribed clockwise. Repeated subculturing of AB22 resulted in improved growth and loss of filament fragmentation, presumably because of one or more compensatory mutations; however, the mutant retained its A-4(L)r Het- phenotype. The mutation in strain AB22 could be complemented by a fragment of wild-type DNA bearing hanA as its only open reading frame.
Journal of Bacteriology 07/1996; 178(12):3572-7. · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biodegradation is increasingly being considered as a less expensive alternative to physical and chemical means of decomposing organic pollutants. Pathways of biodegradation have been characterized for a number of heterotrophic microorganisms, mostly soil isolates, some of which have been used for remediation of water. Because cyanobacteria are photoautotrophic and some can fix atmospheric nitrogen, their use for bioremediation of surface waters would circumvent the need to supply biodegradative heterotrophs with organic nutrients. This paper demonstrates that two filamentous cyanobacteria have a natural ability to degrade a highly chlorinated aliphatic pesticide, lindane (γ-hexachlorocyclohexane); presents quantitative evidence that this ability can be enhanced by genetic engineering; and provides qualitative evidence that those two strains can be genetically engineered to degrade another chlorinated pollutant, 4-chlorobenzoate.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 04/1995; 61(3):1169. · 3.95 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutant M7, obtained by transposon mutagenesis of the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120, is impaired in the development of mature heterocysts. Under aerobic conditions, the mutant is unable to fix N2 because of a deficiency of at least two components of the oxygen-protective mechanisms: a hemoprotein-coupled oxidative reaction and heterocyst-specific glycolipids. DNA contiguous with the inserted transposon was recovered from the mutant and sequenced. The transposon had inserted itself within a 732-bp open reading frame designated devA. The wild-type form of devA, obtained from a lambda-EMBL3 library of Anabaena sp. DNA, had the identical sequence. Directed mutagenesis of devA in the wild-type strain showed that the phenotype of the mutant was caused by insertion of the transposon. The wild-type form of devA on a shuttle vector complemented the mutation in M7. Expression of devA by whole filaments, monitored following nitrogen stepdown by using luxAB as the reporter, increased ca. eightfold during differentiation; the increase within differentiating cells was much greater. The deduced sequence of the DevA protein shows strong similarity to the ATP-binding subunit of binding protein-dependent transport systems. The product of devA may, therefore, be a component of a periplasmic permease that is required for the transition from a proheterocyst to a mature, nitrogen-fixing heterocyst.
Journal of Bacteriology 01/1995; 176(24):7543-9. · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutagenesis of Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 with a derivative of transposon Tn5 led to the isolation of a mutant strain, P6, in which heterocysts are not formed (A. Ernst, T. Black, Y. Cai, J.-M. Panoff, D. N. Tiwari, and C. P. Wolk, J. Bacteriol. 174:6025-6032, 1992). Reconstruction of the transposon mutation of P6 in the wild-type strain reproduced the phenotype of the original mutant. Analysis by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis localized the transposition at ca. 3.44 Mb on the physical map of the chromosome of wild-type Anabaena sp. The transposon was situated within an open reading frame (ORF), which we denote hetP, whose wild-type form was cloned and also sequenced. The predicted HetP protein was not found to show significant sequence similarity to other proteins. The mutation in strain P6 could be complemented by a clone of a fragment of wild-type DNA that includes hetP and at least one additional ORF 3' from hetP, but not by a clone that includes hetP as its only ORF. The latter clone proved highly toxic. The phenotype of the P6 mutant may, therefore, be due to a polar effect of the insertion of the transposon. Filaments of strain P6 and of the wild-type strain, when bearing the complementing fragment on a pDU1-based plasmid, showed an increased frequency of clustered heterocysts compared with that of the wild-type strain.
Journal of Bacteriology 10/1994; 176(17):5277-83. · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: pEC22 is a small plasmid that encodes the restriction-modification system MR.EcoT22I. Restriction and functional analysis of the plasmid identified the positions of genes encoding that system. The plasmid is able to be conducted by conjugal plasmids, a process mediated by a transposon contained within pEC22. This cryptic transposon, called Tn5396, was isolated from pEC22 and partially sequenced. The sequence of Tn5396 is for the most part typical of transposons of the Tn3 family and is most similar to that of Tn1000. The transposon differs from closely related transposons in that it lacks well-conserved sequences in the inverted-repeat region and has an unusually long terminal inverted repeat. Consideration of regions of internal sequence similarity in this and other transposons in the Tn3 family supports a theory of the mechanism by which the ends of Tn3-like transposons may maintain substantial identity between their inverted repeats over the course of evolutionary time.
Journal of Bacteriology 09/1994; 176(16):5059-67. · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transposon-generated mutant N10 of Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 has a Het- phenotype (A. Ernst, T. Black, Y. Cai, J.-M. Panoff, D. N. Tiwari, and C. P. Wolk, J. Bacteriol. 174:6025-6032, 1992). Reconstruction of the transposon mutation reproduced a Het- phenotype, but reconstructions with other insertions at the position of the transposon produced strains that form multiple contiguous heterocysts. Sequence analysis around the site of insertion of the transposon showed that the insertion lies within the 5' end of an 861-bp open reading frame (ORF) (hetN). The product of translation of hetN (HetN) shows extensive similarity to NAD(P)H-dependent oxidoreductases that are involved in biosyntheses of fatty acids, poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate, nod factor, and polyketides. A second, 1,518-bp ORF (hetM) that ends 556 bp 5' from the start of hetN appears to encode a protein that has at least two functional domains: its amino terminus is similar to an acyl carrier protein, while its central portion is similar to domains of proteins that perform reductive reactions. A third, 711-bp ORF (hetI) encoded on the opposite strand ends 42 bp away from the 3' end of hetN. The protein encoded by hetI, HetI, is similar to Sfp from Bacillus subtilis and EntD from Escherichia coli, proteins that are required for the biosynthesis or export of cyclic peptides. Clones from a lambda-EMBL3 library that contain the wild-type DNA for hetN do not complement the hetN::Tn5-1063 mutation in N10. The presence of hetN, as the only ORF, on a replicating plasmid suppresses heterocyst formation in wild-type cells, whereas the additional presence of hetI alleviates this effect.
Journal of Bacteriology 05/1994; 176(8):2282-92. · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The 410-kb alpha megaplasmid of the heterocyst-forming cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 was found to bear the nucA gene that encodes a sugar-nonspecific nuclease. That gene was mutated by insertion of a cassette that confers resistance to neomycin. The resulting strain, AMP2, was mated with a streptomycin-resistant derivative of Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7118, a strain that does not form heterocysts. Cells resistant to both neomycin and streptomycin that were derived from such matings were found to bear the neomycin resistance cassette of the donor strain in a larger megaplasmid characteristic of the recipient strain and did not form heterocysts. This is the first example of transfer of a genetic marker directly between strains of cyanobacteria in which incontrovertible physical evidence of transfer has been obtained. DNA sequences homologous to the nucA gene were present in 13 heterocyst-forming cyanobacteria that were tested but in none of six diverse unicellular strains that were examined.
Journal of Bacteriology 03/1994; 176(4):1093-8. · 2.69 Impact Factor