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J Bacteriol. 1994 Sep;176(17):5277-83.

A third genetic locus required for the formation of heterocysts in Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120.

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  • 1MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, East Lansing 48824.


Mutagenesis of Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 with a derivative of transposon Tn5 led to the isolation of a mutant strain, P6, in which heterocysts are not formed (A. Ernst, T. Black, Y. Cai, J.-M. Panoff, D. N. Tiwari, and C. P. Wolk, J. Bacteriol. 174:6025-6032, 1992). Reconstruction of the transposon mutation of P6 in the wild-type strain reproduced the phenotype of the original mutant. Analysis by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis localized the transposition at ca. 3.44 Mb on the physical map of the chromosome of wild-type Anabaena sp. The transposon was situated within an open reading frame (ORF), which we denote hetP, whose wild-type form was cloned and also sequenced. The predicted HetP protein was not found to show significant sequence similarity to other proteins. The mutation in strain P6 could be complemented by a clone of a fragment of wild-type DNA that includes hetP and at least one additional ORF 3' from hetP, but not by a clone that includes hetP as its only ORF. The latter clone proved highly toxic. The phenotype of the P6 mutant may, therefore, be due to a polar effect of the insertion of the transposon. Filaments of strain P6 and of the wild-type strain, when bearing the complementing fragment on a pDU1-based plasmid, showed an increased frequency of clustered heterocysts compared with that of the wild-type strain.

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