Genes homologous to those implicated in glutamine synthetase (GS) regulation by protein-protein interaction in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 are conserved in several cyanobacterial sequenced genomes. We investigated this GS regulatory mechanism in Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120. In this strain the system operates with only one GS inactivation factor (inactivation factor 7A [IF7A]), encoded by open reading frame (ORF) asl2329 (gifA). Following addition of ammonium, expression of gifA is derepressed, leading to the synthesis of IF7A, and consequently, GS is inactivated. Upon ammonium removal, the GS activity returns to the initial level and IF7A becomes undetectable. The global nitrogen control protein NtcA binds to the gifA promoter. Constitutive high expression levels of gifA were found in an Anabaena ntcA mutant (CSE2), indicating a repressor role for NtcA. In vitro studies demonstrate that Anabaena GS is not inactivated by Synechocystis IFs (IF7 and IF17), indicating the specificity of the system. We constructed an Anabaena strain expressing a second inactivating factor, containing the amino-terminal part of IF17 from Synechocystis fused to IF7A. GS inactivation in this strain is more effective than that in the wild type (WT) and resembles that observed in Synechocystis. Finally we found differential expression of the IF system between heterocysts and vegetative cells of Anabaena.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology