1887

Abstract

Three mutant strains (, , ) of the cyanobacterium unable to differentiate heterocysts were characterized and examined for their ability to form a symbiotic association with the bryophyte . Previously unknown characteristics of the . mutant include differentiation of chilling-resistant akinetes, while vegetative cells of the mutant randomly lysed, yielding short filaments, following ammonium deprivation. Strains with mutations in and infected with similar frequency to that of wild-type but did not support growth of the plant partner. These results confirm that the infection of by hormogonia leading to the establishment of an association is physiologically uncoupled from the development of a functional diazotrophic association. They also indicate that heterocyst regulatory elements downstream from HetR and HetF are required in both free-living and symbiotic heterocyst differentiation and nitrogenase expression. A strain with a mutation in the global nitrogen regulator did not infect despite its ability to differentiate hormogonia at a low frequency. When complemented with one or more copies of , the mutant strain infected at a similar frequency as the wild-type and supported growth of the plant partner in the absence of combined nitrogen. These results established a connection between the presence of a functional copy of and the magnitude of hormogonium differentiation, and the behaviour of the formed hormogonia.

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2002-01-01
2019-10-14
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