1887

Abstract

Cyanobacteria constitute a morphologically diverse group of oxygenic photoautotrophic microbes which range from unicellular to multicellular, and non-nitrogen-fixing to nitrogen-fixing types. Sustained long-term exposure to changing environmental conditions, during their three billion years of evolution, has presumably led to their adaptation to diverse ecological niches. The ability to maintain protein conformational homeostasis (folding–misfolding–refolding or aggregation–degradation) by molecular chaperones holds the key to the stress adaptability of cyanobacteria. Although cyanobacteria possess several genes encoding DnaK and DnaJ family proteins, these are not the most abundant heat-shock proteins (Hsps), as is the case in other bacteria. Instead, the Hsp60 family of proteins, comprising two phylogenetically conserved proteins, and small Hsps are more abundant during heat stress. The contribution of the Hsp100 (ClpB) family of proteins and of small Hsps in the unicellular cyanobacteria ( and ) as well as that of Hsp60 proteins in the filamentous cyanobacteria () to thermotolerance has been elucidated. The regulation of chaperone genes by several -elements and -acting factors has also been well documented. Recent studies have demonstrated novel transcriptional and translational (mRNA secondary structure) regulatory mechanisms in unicellular cyanobacteria. This article provides an insight into the heat-shock response: its organization, and ecophysiological regulation and role of molecular chaperones, in unicellular and filamentous nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterial strains.

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2014-04-01
2020-11-28
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