Gas vesicle protein may account for more than 6% of the cell dry weight and over 10% of the total cell protein in the planktonic cyanobacterium Anabaena Jlos-aquae. The gas vesicles collapsed by rising cell turgor pressure during buoyancy regulation can therefore represent a significant protein pool within this organism. We have looked for evidence of gas vesicle protein recycling. Gas vesicles were isolated from cells of A.80s-aquae that had been pressurized and then cultured in a radioactively labelled medium. The new gas vesicles that formed were less highly labelled than the new vesicles formedin cells from a second culture that had not been pressurized. The results suggest that the collapsed gas vesicles are disaggregated and that the constituent gas vesicle protein is reassembled into new gas vesicles. Proof of this will require experiments using in vitro assembly systems.


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