In addition to GvpA, the main structural protein, an SDS-soluble protein has been found in gas vesicles isolated from six different genera of cyanobacteria. N-terminal sequence analysis of the first 30 to 60 residues of the gel-purified proteins showed that they were homologous to GvpC, a protein that strengthens the gas vesicle in . The proteins from some of the organisms showed rather low homology, however, and this may explain why the genes that encode them have not been found by Southern hybridization studies. The gas vesicles of another cyanobacterium, , contained two SDS-soluble proteins ( 17000 and 35000) that were identical in sequence for the first 24 residues but not thereafter; these two proteins showed no clear homology to GvpC. The sequence of GvpA, the main structural gas vesicle protein, was very similar in each of the organisms investigated. GvpA from the purple bacterium was different for the first 8 residues but 51 of the next 56 residues were identical to those of the cyanobacterial GvpA. Analysis of the GvpA and GvpC sequences provides support for the idea that the low diversity of GvpA reflects a high degree of conservation rather than a recent origin followed by lateral gene transfer between different bacteria.


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