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Mol Microbiol. 1993 Jul;9(1):77-84.

Spatial expression and autoregulation of hetR, a gene involved in the control of heterocyst development in Anabaena.

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MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824.

Erratum in

  • Mol Microbiol 1993 Dec;10(5):1153.


The spatially patterned differentiation of heterocysts in the filamentous cyanobacterium Anabaena requires a functional hetR gene. Transcriptional fusions to luxAB show that hetR is transcribed at a low level throughout the filament when Anabaena is grown with combined nitrogen, and that induction of the gene begins within 2 h following nitrogen deprivation. By 3.5 h, induction is localized to spaced foci. By 6 h, there is an overall induction of at least threefold in whole cultures, reflecting at least a 20-fold increase within spatially separated cells. The induction requires the presence of a functional hetR gene, indicating that hetR is autoregulatory. Full induction of a heterocyst structural gene, hepA, also requires a functional hetR locus.

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