1887

Abstract

The filamentous cyanobacterium sp. strain PCC 7120 differentiates nitrogen-fixing heterocysts arranged in a periodic pattern when deprived of a fixed source of nitrogen. In a genetic screen for mutations that prevent diazotrophic growth, open reading frame , which encodes a putative serine/threonine phosphatase, was identified. Mutation of resulted in a number of seemingly disparate phenotypes that included a delay in the morphological differentiation of heterocysts, reduced cell size, and lethality under certain conditions. The mutant was incapable of fixing nitrogen under either oxic or anoxic conditions, and lacked the minor heterocyst-specific glycolipid. Pattern formation, as indicated by the timing and pattern of expression from the promoters of and fused transcriptionally to the gene for green fluorescent protein (GFP), was unaffected by mutation of , suggesting that its role in the formation of heterocysts is limited to morphological differentiation. Transcription of was constitutive with respect to both cell type and conditions of growth, but required a functional copy of . The reduced cell size of the mutant and the location of between the cell division genes and may be indicative of a role for in cell division. Taken together, these results suggest that the protein encoded by may represent a link between cell growth, division and regulation of the morphological differentiation of heterocysts.

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2012-02-01
2019-10-17
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