SUMMARY: The formation of gas vesicles in samples taken from phosphorus-limited cultures was studied after a phosphate pulse. A light period of at least 10 h after the pulse was needed before gas vesicles were synthesized , and formation did not occur in the dark. The length of the light period correlated with the increase in gas vacuolation. When samples were subjected to 5 h light periods at different times after the addition of phosphate, formation of gas vesicles was only observed when the light period started at least 5 h after the addition of phosphate. Gas vesicle formation was saturated at a photon flux density of approximately 50 μmol m s. Synthesis of gas vesicles was not detected when the cultures were treated with chloramphenicol, rifampicin or 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-'-dimethylurea (DCMU); total gas vesicle volume did not decrease under these conditions, suggesting that turnover of gas vesicles occurs very slowly, if at all.


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