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J Bacteriol. 1998 Jul;180(14):3598-605.

Circadian rhythm of nitrogenase gene expression in the diazotrophic filamentous nonheterocystous cyanobacterium Trichodesmium sp. strain IMS 101.

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  • 1Biology Department, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York 12180-3590, USA.


Recent studies suggested that the daily cycle of nitrogen fixation activity in the marine filamentous nonheterocystous cyanobacterium Trichodesmium sp. is controlled by a circadian rhythm. In this study, we evaluated the rhythm of nitrogen fixation in Trichodesmium sp. strain IMS 101 by using the three criteria for an endogenous rhythm. Nitrogenase transcript abundance oscillated with a period of approximately 24 h, and the cycle was maintained even under constant light conditions. The cyclic pattern of transcript abundance was maintained when the culture was grown at 24 and 28.5 degrees C, although the period was slightly longer (26 h) at the higher temperature. The cycle of gene expression could be entrained with light-dark cues. Results of inhibitor experiments indicated that transcript abundance was regulated primarily by transcription initiation, rather than by degradation. The circadian rhythm, the first conclusively demonstrated endogenous rhythm in a filamentous cyanobacterium, was also reflected in nitrogenase MoFe protein abundance and patterns of Fe protein posttranslational modification-demodification.

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