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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2013 Mar;79(5):1668-75. doi: 10.1128/AEM.03326-12. Epub 2012 Dec 28.

Engineering Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 for continuous growth under diurnal conditions.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.


Synechococcus elongatus strain PCC 7942 strictly depends upon the generation of photosynthetically derived energy for growth and is incapable of biomass increase in the absence of light energy. Obligate phototrophs' core metabolism is very similar to that of heterotrophic counterparts exhibiting diverse trophic behavior. Most characterized cyanobacterial species are obligate photoautotrophs under examined conditions. Here we determine that sugar transporter systems are the necessary genetic factors in order for a model cyanobacterium, Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942, to grow continuously under diurnal (light/dark) conditions using saccharides such as glucose, xylose, and sucrose. While the universal causes of obligate photoautotrophy may be diverse, installing sugar transporters provides new insight into the mode of obligate photoautotrophy for cyanobacteria. Moreover, cyanobacterial chemical production has gained increased attention. However, this obligate phototroph is incapable of product formation in the absence of light. Thus, converting an obligate photoautotroph to a heterotroph is desirable for more efficient, economical, and controllable production systems.

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