Part of the gas vesicle gene cluster was amplified by PCR from three strains of isolated from Lake Zürich, Switzerland. Each contains multiple alternating copies of and . All of the sequences in the different strains are identical. There are two types of : , of length 516 bp, encodes a 20 kDa protein of 172 amino acid residues (whose N-terminal amino acid sequence is homologous with the sequence of GvpC in []); , of length 417 bp, encodes a 16 kDa protein of 139 amino acid residues that differs in lacking an internal 33-residue section. An untranslated 72 bp fragment from the 3′ end of , designated Ω, is also present in some strains. The two types of and presence of Ω could be distinguished by the different lengths of PCR amplification products obtained using pairs of oligonucleotide primers homologous to internal sequences in and . Three genotype classes were found: GV1, containing only ; GV2, containing and Ω; and GV3, containing , and Ω. Subclasses of GV2 and GV3 contained either one or two copies of Ω. The accompanying paper by D. I. Bright & A. E. Walsby ( 145, 2769–2775) shows that strains of the GV3 genotype produce gas vesicles with a higher critical pressure than those of GV1 and GV2. A PCR survey of 185 clonal cultures of isolated from Lake Zürich revealed that 3 isolates were of genotype GV1, 73 were of GV2 and 109 were of GV3. The PCR technique was used to distinguish the gas vesicle genotype, and thence the associated critical-pressure phenotype, of single filaments selected from lakewater samples. Sequence analysis of the 16S rDNA and of regions within the operons encoding phycoerythrin, phycocyanin and Rubisco confirmed that these strains of form a tight phylogenetic group.


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