Photoreduction of dinitrogen by heterocyst-forming cyanobacteria is of great importance ecologically and for subsistence rice agriculture. Their heterocysts must have a glycolipid envelope layer that limits the entry of oxygen if nitrogenase is to remain active to fix dinitrogen in an oxygen-containing milieu (the Fox+ phenotype). Genes alr5354 (hgID), alr5355 (hgIC) and alr5357 (hgIB) of the filamentous cyanobacterium, Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120, and hgIE of Nostoc punctiforme are required for synthesis of heterocyst envelope glycolipids. Newly identified Fox- mutants bear transposons in nearby open reading frames (orfs) all5343, all5345-asr5349 and alr5351-alr5358. Complementation and other analysis provide evidence that at least orfs all5343 (or a co-transcribed gene), all5345, all5347, alr5348, asr5350-alr5353 and alr5356, but not asr5349, are also required for a Fox + phenotype. Lipid and sequence analyses suggest that alr5351-alr5357 encode the enzymes that biosynthesize the glycolipid aglycones. Electron microscopy indicates a role of all5345 through all5347 in the normal deposition of the envelope glycolipids.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology