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J Bacteriol. Nov 1995; 177(22): 6440–6448.
PMCID: PMC177493
The hglK gene is required for localization of heterocyst-specific glycolipids in the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120.
K Black, W J Buikema, and R Haselkorn
Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.
Mutant strain 543 of the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 was originally isolated as a Fox- mutant following chemical mutagenesis. Ultrastructural analysis shows that in nitrogen-replete media the vegetative cells of the mutant are more cylindrical and have thicker septa than those of the wild type, while in nitrogen-free media the mutant heterocysts lack the normal glycolipid layer external to the cell wall. Although this layer is absent, strain 543 heterocysts nevertheless contain heterocyst-specific glycolipids, as determined by thin-layer chromatography. The mutation in strain 543 is in a gene we have named hglK, encoding a protein of 727 amino acids. The wild-type HglK protein appears to contain four membrane-spanning regions followed by 36 repeats of a degenerate pentapeptide sequence, AXLXX. The mutation in strain 543 introduces a termination codon immediately upstream of the pentapeptide repeat region. A mutant constructed by insertion of an antibiotic resistance cassette near the beginning of the hglK gene has the same phenotype as strain 543. We propose that hglK encodes a protein necessary for the localization of heterocyst glycolipids and that this function requires the pentapeptide repeats of the HglK protein.
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