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J Bacteriol. 1997 Feb;179(3):853-62.

Amino acid transport in taxonomically diverse cyanobacteria and identification of two genes encoding elements of a neutral amino acid permease putatively involved in recapture of leaked hydrophobic amino acids.

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Instituto de Bioquímica Vegetal y Fotosíntesis, Universidad de Sevilla-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Spain.


The activities of uptake of thirteen 14C-labeled amino acids were determined in nine cyanobacteria, including the unicellular strains Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 and Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803; the filamentous strain Pseudanabaena sp. strain PCC 6903, and the filamentous, heterocyst-forming strains Anabaena sp. strains PCC 7120 and PCC 7937; Nostoc sp. strains PCC 7413 and PCC 7107; Calothrix sp. strain PCC 7601 (which is a mutant unable to develop heterocysts); and Fischerella muscicola UTEX 1829. Amino acid transport mutants, selected as mutants resistant to some amino acid analogs, were isolated from the Anabaena, Nostoc, Calothrix, and Pseudanabaena strains. All of the tested cyanobacteria bear at least a neutral amino acid transport system, and some strains also bear transport systems specific for basic or acidic amino acids. Two genes, natA and natB, encoding elements (conserved component, NatA, and periplasmic binding protein, NatB) of an ABC-type permease for neutral amino acids were identified by insertional mutagenesis of strain PCC 6803 open reading frames from the recently published genomic DNA sequence of this cyanobacterium. DNA sequences homologous to natA and natB from strain PCC 6803 were detected by hybridization in eight cyanobacterial strains tested. Mutants unable to transport neutral amino acids, including natA and natB insertional mutants, accumulated in the extracellular medium a set of amino acids that always included Ala, Val, Phe, Ile, and Leu. A general role for a cyanobacterial neutral amino acid permease in recapture of hydrophobic amino acids leaked from the cells is suggested.

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