Special Issue "Cyanobacteria: Ecology, Physiology and Genetics"


A special issue of Life (ISSN 2075-1729). This special issue belongs to the section "Life Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 October 2014

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Robert Haselkorn
Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology, The University of Chicago, 920 East 58 Street, Chicago IL 60637, USA
Website: https://chemistry.uchicago.edu/faculty/faculty/person/member/robert-haselkorn.html
E-Mail: rh01@uchicago.edu
Interests: cellular differentiation in filamentous cyanobacteria; nitrogen fixation; transcription regulation in cyanobacteria; toxins; genetics

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. John C. Meeks
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Website: http://microbiology.ucdavis.edu/meeks/
E-Mail: jcmeeks@ucdavis.edu
Interests: biology of cyanobacteria; especially cellular differentiation; genome analyses; gliding motility; microbial physiology; nitrogen fixation; photosensors; symbiosis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As oxygen-producing photoautotrophs, cyanobacteria have been, and continue to be, one of the most influential groups of micro-organisms on earth. They are an ancient lineage, with a fossil record dating to at least 3 billion years ago and were singularly responsible for the initial oxygenation of the biosphere. Cyanobacteria are the most nutritionally independent organisms on earth, requiring only light, water, CO2 and a few inorganic molecules or elements for growth; some can fix nitrogen. They areubiquitous in the illuminated portions of the terrestrial and aquatic biosphere, including deep oceanic, hypersaline, geothermal, desert and polar habitats, as well as being endolithic and endophytic. Cyanobacteria display diverse cellular and colonial morphologies, cellular developmental alternatives, types of secondary metabolites, some of which are toxic to metazoans, and behaviors, such as chromatic adaptation, reversible desiccation and genetic adaptation to environmental changes. Molecular genetic evidence is consistent with a common cyanobacterial ancestor giving rise to the chloroplasts of eukaryotic algae and plants. Processes and pathways expressed by extant cyanobacteria, such as circadian rhythms, phytochrome signaling and cellulose synthesis, amongst others, are likely to have entered the plant world via that ancient endosymbiotic event. Many cyanobacteria are amenable to genetic manipulation; therefore, they are excellent experimental systems for studies of photosynthetic and nitrogen metabolism, regulation of the differentiation of specialized cells, cell-cell communication and environmental signal transduction. The genomes of more than 190 cyanobacteria have been sequenced to date and genomic based analyses are being applied to document their changing transcriptome, proteome and metabalome. In this special issue, advanceswill be presented in understanding the ecology, physiology and genetics of cyanobacteria, using classic and molecular genetic approaches that will ultimately aid inmanipulation of selected organisms for biotechnological applications in bioremediation, biofuel and pharmaceutical production.

Prof. Dr. Robert Haselkorn
Prof. Dr. John C. Meeks
Guest Editors


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  • oxygenic photosynthesis
  • nitrogen fixation
  • primary C and N production
  • circadian rhythm
  • toxins and blooms
  • signal transduction
  • photosensors
  • community structure
  • cellular communication
  • cellular differentiation

Published Papers

No papers have been published in this special issue yet, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
The Interplay between Iron Bioavailability and Transport Strategies in Aquatic Cyanobacteria
Hagar Lis 2,3, Chana Kranzler 1,2, Yeala Shaked 2,3 and Nir Keren 1
1 Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, The Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
2 Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat, POB 469, Eilat 88103, Israel
The Freddy and Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences, Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
: Cyanobacteria are a diverse and highly successful group of organisms, prevalent throughout aquatic ecosystems. Due to their taxonomic affiliation, these photosynthetic prokaryotes are often associated with the siderophore mediated iron uptake strategy employed by heterotrophic bacteria. However, siderophore production is not well suited to dilute heterogeneous ocean environments in which diffusive losses pose significant challenges to this strategy. Moreover, genetic studies show that open ocean cyanobacteria possess neither siderophore biosynthesis nor siderophore transporter genes—capabilities which seem to be limited to freshwater, brackish and coastal environments. Recent studies uncovered an alternative high affinity iron uptake pathway functioning in Fe-limited model cyanobacteria—reduction of Fe(III) species prior to transport though the plasma membrane. In this contribution, we examine the prevalence of this mechanism amongst genetically and ecologically diverse cyanobacterial strains and across several Fe-substrates. Interestingly, we found that siderophore producers are able to acquire iron via the reductive pathway, although implementation of this strategy seems to depend on the chemical nature of the Fe-substrate. Results of short term iron uptake assays also confirm the presence of the reductive strategy in a number of marine species. Thus, reductive iron uptake appears to be a prevalent strategy amongst both fresh water and marine cyanobacteria in the uptake of various Fe-substrates. These findings lend insight into the relationship between environmental pressures and the evolution of cyanobacterial iron uptake strategies.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Novel DNA Taxonomy Approaches in Cyanobacteria
: Ester Eckert, Diego Fontaneto, Manuela Coci, Gianluca Corno and Cristiana Callieri
CNR – Institute of Ecosystem Study, Verbania, Italy
: Taxonomy in Cyanobacteria is mostly based on 16S sequences, as for all prokaryotes. Nevertheless, the most common approach in DNA taxonomy for cyanobacteria is still based on genetic distances, without incorporating any of the theoretical advances in DNA taxonomy that have been recently developed for eukaryotes. Several methods based on maximum likelihood and Bayesian statistical approaches, also including coalescent theory, have been developed for DNA taxonomy in eukaryotes, but are not yet applied in prokaryotes. Here we demonstrate their reliable and useful application in the case of Cyanobacteria. We test the output of different methods in DNA taxonomy (e.g., ABGD, GMYC, PTP) on 16S sequences of Cyanobacteria cladesand investigate the ecological and physiological independence of the taxonomic units.

Type of Paper: Article
Control of chromosome copy number depending on growth phase in cyanobacteri
Authors: Satoru Watanabe 1, Ryudo Ohbayashi 1,2, Yu Kanesaki 3, Natsumi Saito 4, Ryuuichi Hirota 5, Naoto Shigenobu 1, Taku Chibazakura 1, Tomoyoshi Soga 4 and Hirofumi Yoshikawa1,2,3,*
1 Department of Bioscience, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Tokyo, Japan; E-Mail: s3watana@nodai.ac.jp (Satoru Watanabe); hiyoshik@nodai.ac.jp (Hirofumi Yoshikawa); Tel.: +81-3-5477-2758 (Hirofumi Yoshikawa); Fax: +81-3-5477-2668 (Hirofumi Yoshikawa)
Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST), Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Saitama 332-0012, Japan
Genome Research Center, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Tokyo, Japan
Laboratory of Genome Designing Biology, Institute for Advanced Biosciences, Keio University, Tsuruoka, Yamagata, Japan
Department of Molecular Biotechnology, Graduate School of Advanced Sciences of Matter, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan
While bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis harbor a single circular chromosome, some freshwater cyanobacteria have multicopy chromosomes per cell. We have studied the replication and partitioning mechanisms of multicopy chromosomes in cyanobacteria Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942. In our batch culture condition, the chromosome copy number wassignificantly increased incellsat lag phase, period after releasing from dark in order to synchronize the culture, and it was decreased at bothexponential and stationary phases.Actually, DNA replication activity in lag phase cells was higher than that of exponential and stationary cells. In addition, the lag phase cellswere more sensitive to nalidixic acid, a DNA gyrase inhibitor, than the cells of other phases.In order to investigate cellular physiology of the lag phase in Synechococcus, we compared the gene expression profile and metabolome in each growth phase. As the specific phenomena in the cells at lag phase, 62% of genes were up or down regulated, and the carbon metabolites, amino acids, nucleotidesand polyphosphates were accumulated. These results suggested that the Synechococcus cells at lag phase already start replicating and prepare chromosome and metabolites for division and elongation at the following phases.

Last update: 3 June 2014

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