Abstract: Different environmental nitrogen sources play selective roles in the development of cyanobacterial blooms and noxious effects are often exacerbated when toxic cyanobacteria are dominant. Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii CS-505 (heterocystous, nitrogen fixing) and Raphidiopsis brookii D9 (non-N2 fixing) produce the nitrogenous toxins cylindrospermopsin (CYN) and paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs), respectively. These toxin groups are biosynthesized constitutively by two independent putative gene clusters, whose flanking genes are target for nitrogen (N) regulation. It is not yet known how or if toxin biosynthetic genes are regulated, particularly by N-source dependency. Here we show that binding boxes for NtcA, the master regulator of N metabolism, are located within both gene clusters as potential regulators of toxin biosynthesis. Quantification of intra- and extracellular toxin content in cultures at early stages of growth under nitrate, ammonium, urea and N-free media showed that N-sources influence neither CYN nor PST production. However, CYN and PST profiles were altered under N-free medium resulting in a decrease in the predicted precursor toxins (doCYN and STX, respectively). Reduced STX amounts were also observed under growth in ammonium. Quantification of toxin biosynthesis and transport gene transcripts revealed a constitutive transcription under all tested N-sources. Our data support the hypothesis that PSTs and CYN are constitutive metabolites whose biosynthesis is correlated to cyanobacterial growth rather than directly to specific environmental conditions. Overall, the constant biosynthesis of toxins and expression of the putative toxin-biosynthesis genes supports the usage of qPCR probes in water quality monitoring of toxic cyanobacteria.
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Stucken, K.; John, U.; Cembella, A.; Soto-Liebe, K.; Vásquez, M. Impact of Nitrogen Sources on Gene Expression and Toxin Production in the Diazotroph Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii CS-505 and Non-Diazotroph Raphidiopsis brookii D9. Toxins 2014, 6, 1896-1915.
Stucken K, John U, Cembella A, Soto-Liebe K, Vásquez M. Impact of Nitrogen Sources on Gene Expression and Toxin Production in the Diazotroph Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii CS-505 and Non-Diazotroph Raphidiopsis brookii D9. Toxins. 2014; 6(6):1896-1915.
Stucken, Karina; John, Uwe; Cembella, Allan; Soto-Liebe, Katia; Vásquez, Mónica. 2014. "Impact of Nitrogen Sources on Gene Expression and Toxin Production in the Diazotroph Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii CS-505 and Non-Diazotroph Raphidiopsis brookii D9." Toxins 6, no. 6: 1896-1915.