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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Nov;73(21):6994-7002. Epub 2007 Sep 7.

Impact of inorganic carbon availability on microcystin production by Microcystis aeruginosa PCC 7806.

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  • 1Dresden University of Technology, Institute of Hydrobiology, 01062 Dresden, Germany.


Batch culture experiments with the cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa PCC 7806 were performed in order to test the hypothesis that microcystins (MCYSTs) are produced in response to a relative deficiency of intracellular inorganic carbon (C(i,i)). In the first experiment, MCYST production was studied under increased C(i,i) deficiency conditions, achieved by restricting sodium-dependent bicarbonate uptake through replacement of sodium bicarbonate in the medium with its potassium analog. The same experimental approach was used in a second experiment to compare the response of the wild-type strain M. aeruginosa PCC 7806 with its mcyB mutant, which lacks the ability to produce MCYSTs. In a third experiment, the impact of varying the C(i,i) status on MCYST production was examined without suppressing the sodium-dependent bicarbonate transporter; instead, a detailed investigation of a dark-light cycle was performed. In all experiments, a relative C(i,i) deficiency was indicated by an elevated variable fluorescence signal and led to enhanced phycocyanin cell quotas. Higher MCYST cell quotas (in the first and third experiments) and increased total (intracellular plus extracellular) MCYST production (in the first experiment) were detected with increased C(i,i) deficiency. Furthermore, the MCYST-producing wild-type strain and its mcyB mutant showed basically the same response to restrained inorganic carbon uptake, with elevated variable fluorescence and phycocyanin cell quotas with increased C(i,i) deficiency. The response of the wild type, however, was distinctly stronger and also included elevated chlorophyll a cell quotas. These differences indicate the limited ability of the mutant to adapt to low-C(i,i) conditions. We concluded that MCYSTs may be involved in enhancing the efficiency of the adaptation of the photosynthetic apparatus to fluctuating inorganic carbon conditions in cyanobacterial cells.

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