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1.  Redox control of copper homeostasis in cyanobacteria 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2012;7(12):1712-1714.
Copper is essential for all living organisms but is toxic when present in excess. Therefore organisms have developed homeostatic mechanism to tightly regulate its cellular concentration. In a recent study we have shown that CopRS two-component system is essential for copper resistance in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp PCC 6803. This two-component regulates expression of a heavy-metal RND type copper efflux system (encoded by copBAC) as well as its own expression (in the copMRS operon) in response to an excess of copper in the media. We have also observed that both operons are induced under condition that reduces the photosynthetic electron flow and this induction depends on the presence of the copper-protein, plastocyanin. These findings, together with CopS localization to the thylakoid membrane and its periplasmic domain being able to bind copper directly, suggest that CopS could be involved in copper detection in both the periplasm and the thylakoid lumen.
PMCID: PMC3578916  PMID: 23073008
copper; histidine kinase; two-component system; thylakoid; Synechocystis
2.  Thiol-Based Redox Modulation of a Cyanobacterial Eukaryotic-Type Serine/Threonine Kinase Required for Oxidative Stress Tolerance 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2012;17(4):521-533.
Aims: Protein phosphorylation is a principal signaling mechanism that mediates regulation of enzymatic activities, modulation of gene expression, and adaptation to environmental changes. Recent studies have shown a ubiquitous distribution of eukaryotic-type Serine/Threonine protein kinases in prokaryotic genomes, though the functions, substrates, and possible regulation of these enzymes remain largely unknown. In this study, we investigated whether cyanobacterial protein phosphorylation may be subject to redox regulation through modulation of the cysteine redox state, as has previously been reported for animals and plants. We also explored the role of a cyanobacterial Serine/Threonine kinase in oxidative stress tolerance. Results: The Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 Serine/Threonine kinase SpkB was found to be inhibited by oxidation and reactivated by thioredoxin-catalyzed reduction. A Synechocystis mutant devoid of the SpkB kinase was unable to phosphorylate the glycyl-tRNA synthetase β-subunit (GlyS), one of the most prominent phosphoproteins in the wild type, and recombinant purified SpkB could phosphorylate purified GlyS. In vivo characterization of the SpkB mutant showed a pronounced hypersensitivity to oxidative stress and displayed severe growth retardation or death in response to menadione, methyl viologen, and elevated light intensities. Innovation: This study points out a previously unrecognised complexity of prokaryotic regulatory pathways in adaptation to the environment and extends the roles of bacterial eukaryotic-like Serine/Threonine kinases to oxidative stress response. Conclusion: The SpkB kinase is required for survival of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 under conditions implying increased concentrations of reactive oxygen species, and the activity of SpkB depends on the redox state of its cysteines. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 17, 521–533.
PMCID: PMC3373224  PMID: 22530622
3.  Glutaredoxins are essential for stress adaptation in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 
Glutaredoxins are small redox proteins able to reduce disulfides and mixed disulfides between GSH and proteins. Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 contains three genes coding for glutaredoxins: ssr2061 (grxA) and slr1562 (grxB) code for dithiolic glutaredoxins while slr1846 (grxC) codes for a monothiolic glutaredoxin. We have analyzed the expression of these glutaredoxins in response to different stresses, such as high light, H2O2 and heat shock. Analysis of the mRNA levels showed that grxA is only induced by heat while grxC is repressed by heat shock and is induced by high light and H2O2. In contrast, grxB expression was maintained almost constant under all conditions. Analysis of GrxA and GrxC protein levels by western blot showed that GrxA increases in response to high light, heat or H2O2 while GrxC is only induced by high light and H2O2, in accordance with its mRNA levels. In addition, we have also generated mutants that have interrupted one, two, or three glutaredoxin genes. These mutants were viable and did not show any different phenotype from the WT under standard growth conditions. Nevertheless, analysis of these mutants under several stress conditions revealed that single grxA mutants grow slower after H2O2, heat and high light treatments, while mutants in grxB are indistinguishable from WT. grxC mutants were hypersensitive to treatments with H2O2, heat, high light and metals. A double grxAgrxC mutant was found to be even more sensitive to H2O2 than each corresponding single mutants. Surprisingly a mutation in grxB suppressed totally or partially the phenotypes of grxA and grxC mutants except the H2O2 sensitivity of the grxC mutant. This suggests that grxA and grxC participate in independent pathways while grxA and grxB participate in a common pathway for H2O2 resistance. The data presented here show that glutaredoxins are essential for stress adaptation in cyanobacteria, although their targets and mechanism of action remain unidentified.
PMCID: PMC3816324  PMID: 24204369
glutaredoxin; stress; redox regulation; cyanobacteria; high light; heat shock; oxidative stress; metal resistance
4.  Brahma Is Required for Proper Expression of the Floral Repressor FLC in Arabidopsis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e17997.
BRAHMA (BRM) is a member of a family of ATPases of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes from Arabidopsis. BRM has been previously shown to be crucial for vegetative and reproductive development.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Here we carry out a detailed analysis of the flowering phenotype of brm mutant plants which reveals that, in addition to repressing the flowering promoting genes CONSTANS (CO), FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) and SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSION OF CO1 (SOC1), BRM also represses expression of the general flowering repressor FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC). Thus, in brm mutant plants FLC expression is elevated, and FLC chromatin exhibits increased levels of histone H3 lysine 4 tri-methylation and decreased levels of H3 lysine 27 tri-methylation, indicating that BRM imposes a repressive chromatin configuration at the FLC locus. However, brm mutants display a normal vernalization response, indicating that BRM is not involved in vernalization-mediated FLC repression. Analysis of double mutants suggests that BRM is partially redundant with the autonomous pathway. Analysis of genetic interactions between BRM and the histone H2A.Z deposition machinery demonstrates that brm mutations overcome a requirement of H2A.Z for FLC activation suggesting that in the absence of BRM, a constitutively open chromatin conformation renders H2A.Z dispensable.
BRM is critical for phase transition in Arabidopsis. Thus, BRM represses expression of the flowering promoting genes CO, FT and SOC1 and of the flowering repressor FLC. Our results indicate that BRM controls expression of FLC by creating a repressive chromatin configuration of the locus.
PMCID: PMC3061888  PMID: 21445315
5.  Posttranscriptional Regulation of Glutamine Synthetase in the Filamentous Cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. PCC 7120: Differential Expression between Vegetative Cells and Heterocysts ▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(18):4701-4711.
Genes homologous to those implicated in glutamine synthetase (GS) regulation by protein-protein interaction in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 are conserved in several cyanobacterial sequenced genomes. We investigated this GS regulatory mechanism in Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120. In this strain the system operates with only one GS inactivation factor (inactivation factor 7A [IF7A]), encoded by open reading frame (ORF) asl2329 (gifA). Following addition of ammonium, expression of gifA is derepressed, leading to the synthesis of IF7A, and consequently, GS is inactivated. Upon ammonium removal, the GS activity returns to the initial level and IF7A becomes undetectable. The global nitrogen control protein NtcA binds to the gifA promoter. Constitutive high expression levels of gifA were found in an Anabaena ntcA mutant (CSE2), indicating a repressor role for NtcA. In vitro studies demonstrate that Anabaena GS is not inactivated by Synechocystis IFs (IF7 and IF17), indicating the specificity of the system. We constructed an Anabaena strain expressing a second inactivating factor, containing the amino-terminal part of IF17 from Synechocystis fused to IF7A. GS inactivation in this strain is more effective than that in the wild type (WT) and resembles that observed in Synechocystis. Finally we found differential expression of the IF system between heterocysts and vegetative cells of Anabaena.
PMCID: PMC2937420  PMID: 20639319
6.  A Comprehensive Analysis of the Peroxiredoxin Reduction System in the Cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. Strain PCC 6803 Reveals that All Five Peroxiredoxins Are Thioredoxin Dependent▿ † 
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;191(24):7477-7489.
Cyanobacteria perform oxygenic photosynthesis, which gives rise to the continuous production of reactive oxygen species, such as superoxide anion radicals and hydrogen peroxide, particularly under unfavorable growth conditions. Peroxiredoxins, which are present in both chloroplasts and cyanobacteria, constitute a class of thiol-dependent peroxidases capable of reducing hydrogen peroxide as well as alkyl hydroperoxides. Chloroplast peroxiredoxins have been studied extensively and have been found to use a variety of endogenous electron donors, such as thioredoxins, glutaredoxins, or cyclophilin, to sustain their activities. To date, however, the endogenous reduction systems for cyanobacterial peroxiredoxins have not been systematically studied. We have expressed and purified all five Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 peroxiredoxins, which belong to the classes 1-Cys Prx, 2-Cys Prx, type II Prx (PrxII), and Prx Q, and we have examined their capacities to interact with and receive electrons from the m-, x-, and y-type thioredoxins from the same organism, which are called TrxA, TrxB, and TrxQ, respectively. Assays for peroxidase activity demonstrated that all five enzymes could use thioredoxins as electron donors, whereas glutathione and Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 glutaredoxins were inefficient. The highest catalytic efficiency was obtained for the couple consisting of PrxII and TrxQ thioredoxin. Studies of transcript levels for the peroxiredoxins and thioredoxins under different stress conditions highlighted the similarity between the PrxII and TrxQ thioredoxin expression patterns.
PMCID: PMC2786602  PMID: 19820102
7.  Characterization of an Alcohol Dehydrogenase from the Cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. Strain PCC 6803 That Responds to Environmental Stress Conditions via the Hik34-Rre1 Two-Component System▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;191(13):4383-4391.
The slr1192 (adhA) gene from Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 encodes a member of the medium-chain alcohol dehydrogenase/reductase family. The gene product AdhA exhibits NADP-dependent alcohol dehydrogenase activity, acting on a broad variety of aromatic and aliphatic primary alcohols and aldehydes but not on secondary alcohols or ketones. It exhibits superior catalytic efficiency for aldehyde reduction compared to that for alcohol oxidation. The enzyme is a cytosolic protein present in photoautotrophically grown Synechocystis cells. The expression of AdhA is enhanced upon the exposure of cells to different environmental stresses, although it is not essential for survival even under such stress conditions. The induction of the expression of the adhA gene is dependent on the Hik34-Rre1 two-component system, as it is severely impaired in mutant strains lacking either the histidine kinase Hik34 or the response regulator Rre1. In vitro DNA-protein interaction analysis reveals that the response regulator Rre1 binds specifically to the promoter region of the adhA gene.
PMCID: PMC2698509  PMID: 19411329
8.  The Glutathione/Glutaredoxin System Is Essential for Arsenate Reduction in Synechocystis sp. Strain PCC 6803▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;191(11):3534-3543.
Arsenic resistance in Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 is mediated by an operon of three genes in which arsC codes for an arsenate reductase with unique characteristics. Here we describe the identification of two additional and nearly identical genes coding for arsenate reductases in Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803, which we have designed arsI1 and arsI2, and the biochemical characterization of both ArsC (arsenate reductase) and ArsI. Functional analysis of single, double, and triple mutants shows that both ArsI enzymes are active arsenate reductases but that their roles in arsenate resistance are essential only in the absence of ArsC. Based on its biochemical properties, ArsC belongs to a family that, though related to thioredoxin-dependent arsenate reductases, uses the glutathione/glutaredoxin system for reduction, whereas ArsI belongs to the previously known glutaredoxin-dependent family. We have also analyzed the role in arsenate resistance of the three glutaredoxins present in Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 both in vitro and in vivo. Only the dithiolic glutaredoxins, GrxA (glutaredoxin A) and GrxB (glutaredoxin B), are able to donate electrons to both types of reductases in vitro, while GrxC (glutaredoxin C), a monothiolic glutaredoxin, is unable to donate electrons to either type. Analysis of glutaredoxin mutant strains revealed that only those lacking the grxA gene have impaired arsenic resistance.
PMCID: PMC2681892  PMID: 19304854
9.  Target of Rapamycin and LST8 Proteins Associate with Membranes from the Endoplasmic Reticulum in the Unicellular Green Alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii▿  
Eukaryotic Cell  2007;7(2):212-222.
The highly conserved target of rapamycin (TOR) kinase is a central controller of cell growth in all eukaryotes. TOR exists in two functionally and structurally distinct complexes, termed TOR complex 1 (TORC1) and TORC2. LST8 is a TOR-interacting protein that is present in both TORC1 and TORC2. Here we report the identification and characterization of TOR and LST8 in large protein complexes in the model photosynthetic green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. We demonstrate that Chlamydomonas LST8 is part of a rapamycin-sensitive TOR complex in this green alga. Biochemical fractionation and indirect immunofluorescence microscopy studies indicate that TOR and LST8 exist in high-molecular-mass complexes that associate with microsomal membranes and are particularly abundant in the peri-basal body region in Chlamydomonas cells. A Saccharomyces cerevisiae complementation assay demonstrates that Chlamydomonas LST8 is able to functionally and structurally replace endogenous yeast LST8 and allows us to propose that binding of LST8 to TOR is essential for cell growth.
PMCID: PMC2238169  PMID: 18039939
10.  Arsenic Sensing and Resistance System in the Cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. Strain PCC 6803 
Journal of Bacteriology  2003;185(18):5363-5371.
Arsenic is one of the most important global environmental pollutants. Here we show that the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 contains an arsenic and antimony resistance operon consisting of three genes: arsB, encoding a putative arsenite and antimonite carrier, arsH, encoding a protein of unknown function, and arsC, encoding a putative arsenate reductase. While arsB mutant strains were sensitive to arsenite, arsenate, and antimonite, arsC mutants were sensitive only to arsenate. The arsH mutant strain showed no obvious phenotype under the conditions tested. In vivo the arsBHC operon was derepressed by oxyanions of arsenic and antimony (oxidation state, +3) and, to a lesser extent, by bismuth (oxidation state, +3) and arsenate (oxidation state, +5). In the absence of these effectors, the operon was repressed by a transcription repressor of the ArsR/SmtB family, encoded by an unlinked gene termed arsR. Thus, arsR null mutants showed constitutive derepression of the arsBHC operon. Expression of the arsR gene was not altered by the presence of arsenic or antimony compounds. Purified recombinant ArsR protein binds to the arsBHC promoter-operator region in the absence of metals and dissociates from the DNA in the presence of Sb(III) or As(III) but not in the presence of As(V), suggesting that trivalent metalloids are the true inducers of the system. DNase I footprinting experiments indicate that ArsR binds to two 17-bp direct repeats, with each one consisting of two inverted repeats, in the region from nucleotides −34 to + 17 of the arsBHC promoter-operator.
PMCID: PMC193754  PMID: 12949088
11.  A Gene Cluster Involved in Metal Homeostasis in the Cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. Strain PCC 6803 
Journal of Bacteriology  2000;182(6):1507-1514.
A gene cluster composed of nine open reading frames (ORFs) involved in Ni2+, Co2+, and Zn2+ sensing and tolerance in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 has been identified. The cluster includes an Ni2+ response operon and a Co2+ response system, as well as a Zn2+ response system previously described. Expression of the Ni2+ response operon (nrs) was induced in the presence of Ni2+ and Co2+. Reduced Ni2+ tolerance was observed following disruption of two ORFs of the operon (nrsA and nrsD). We also show that the nrsD gene encodes a putative Ni2+ permease whose carboxy-terminal region is a metal binding domain. The Co2+ response system is composed of two divergently transcribed genes, corR and corT, mutants of which showed decreased Co2+ tolerance. Additionally, corR mutants showed an absence of Co2+-dependent induction of corT, indicating that CorR is a transcriptional activator of corT. To our knowledge, CorR is the first Co2+-sensing transcription factor described. Our data suggest that this region of the Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 genome is involved in sensing and homeostasis of Ni2+, Co2+, and Zn2+.
PMCID: PMC94446  PMID: 10692354

Results 1-11 (11)