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Mol Microbiol. 1998 Dec;30(5):1101-12.

Nitrogen control of the glnN gene that codes for GS type III, the only glutamine synthetase in the cyanobacterium Pseudanabaena sp. PCC 6903.

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Instituto de Bioquímica Vegetal y Fotosíntesis, Centro de Investigaciones Científicas Isla de la Cartuja, Seville, Spain.


Pseudanabaena sp. strain PCC 6903 is the first cyanobacteria lacking the typical prokaryotic glutamine synthetase type I encoded by the glnA gene. The glnN gene product, glutamine synthetase type III, is the only glutamine synthetase activity present in this cyanobacterium. Analysis of glnN expression clearly indicated a nitrogen-dependent regulation. Pseudanabaena glnN gene expression and GSIII activity were upregulated under nitrogen starvation or using nitrate as a nitrogen source, while low levels of transcript and activity were found in ammonium-containing medium. Primer extension analysis showed that the glnN gene promoter structure resembled that of the NtcA-related promoters. Mobility shift assays demonstrated that Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 NtcA protein, expressed and purified from Escherichia coli, bound to the promoter of the Pseudanabaena 6903 glnN gene. The NtcA control of the glnN gene in this cyanobacterium suggested that, in the absence of a glnA gene, NtcA took control of the only glutamine synthetase gene in a fashion similar to the way the glnA gene is governed in those cyanobacteria harbouring a glnA gene.

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