Cyanophycin production in a phycoerythrin-containing marine Synechococcus strain of unusual phylogenetic affinity

Lauren L. Wingard, Scott R. Miller, Jeanne M.L. Sellker, Erik Stenn, Mary M. Allen, A. Michelle Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Thirty-two strains of phycoerythrin-containing marine picocyanobacteria were screened for the capacity to produce cyanophycin, a nitrogen storage compound synthesized by some, but not all, cyanobacteria. We found that one of these strains, Synechococcus sp. strain G2.1 from the Arabian Sea, was able to synthesize cyanophycin. The cyanophycin extracted from the cells was composed of roughly equimolar amounts of arginine and aspartate (29 and 35 mol%, respectively), as well as a small amount of glutamate (15 mol%). Phylogenetic analysis, based on partial 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequence data, showed that Synechococcus sp. strain G2.1 formed a well-supported clade with several strains of filamentous cyanobacteria. It was not closely related to several other well-studied marine picocyanobacteria, including Synechococcus strains PCC7002, WH7805, and WH8018 and Prochlorococcus sp. strain MIT9312. This is the first report of cyanophycin production in a phycoerythrin-containing strain of marine or halotolerant Synechococcus, and its discovery highlights the diversity of this ecologically important functional group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1772-1777
Number of pages6
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume68
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

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