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Plant Cell Physiol. 2011 Jun;52(6):957-66. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcr047. Epub 2011 Apr 14.

Cellulose accumulation and a cellulose synthase gene are responsible for cell aggregation in the cyanobacterium Thermosynechococcus vulcanus RKN.

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Department of Life Sciences (Biology), Graduate School of Arts and Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


A thermophilic cyanobacterium, Thermosynechococcus vulcanus RKN, exhibits cell aggregation under low temperature illuminated conditions as a means of physiological acclimation to avoid excess light stress. The cell aggregation was dispersed with cellulase treatment. We developed a method to quantify small amounts of cellulose by partial cellulose purification followed by quantitation of liberated glucose by cellulase. Under low temperature illuminated light conditions, cellulose accumulation was induced approximately 2-fold, to 10 μg (4 × 10(9) cells)(-1), and slightly preceded aggregation. Based on sequence similarity, three candidate genes for cellulose synthase (Tvtll0007, Tvtlr1795 and Tvtlr1930-33) were cloned from T. vulcanus. Gene disruption analysis showed that only Tvtll0007 was responsible for both the light- and low temperature-induced cell aggregation and the induction of cellulose accumulation. Gene expression analysis suggested that the low temperature illuminated conditions quickly induced expression of Tvtlr1795 and Tvtlr1930-33, while the induction of Tvtll0007 was slow. These results suggest that Tvtll0007 encodes a functional cellulose synthase whose activity may not be regulated at the transcriptional level.

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