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Toxins 2018, 10(11), 478;

The Cyanotoxin BMAA Induces Heterocyst Specific Gene Expression in Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 under Repressive Conditions

Institute of Molecular Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Kurchatov Square, 2, 123182 Moscow, Russia
Winogradsky Institute of Microbiology, Research Center of Biotechnology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Prospekt 60 let Oktyabrya, 7/2, 117312 Moscow, Russia
Scientific-Research Institute of Physical-Chemical Medicine, 119435 Moscow, Russia
Soil Science Faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory, 1-12, 119991 Moscow, Russia
Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Belozersky Institute of Physical-Chemical Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory, 1, 40, 119992 Moscow, Russia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 October 2018 / Revised: 10 November 2018 / Accepted: 12 November 2018 / Published: 16 November 2018
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Cyanobacteria synthesize neurotoxic β-N-methylamino-l-alanine (BMAA). The roles of this non-protein amino acid in cyanobacterial cells are insufficiently studied. During diazotrophic growth, filamentous cyanobacteria form single differentiated cells, called heterocysts, which are separated by approximately 12–15 vegetative cells. When combined nitrogen is available, heterocyst formation is blocked and cyanobacterial filaments contain only vegetative cells. In the present study, we discovered that exogenous BMAA induces the process of heterocyst formation in filamentous cyanobacteria under nitrogen-replete conditions that normally repress cell differentiation. BMAA treated cyanobacteria form heterocyst-like dark non-fluorescent non-functional cells. It was found that glutamate eliminates the BMAA mediated derepression. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) permitted to detect the BMAA impact on the transcriptional activity of several genes that are implicated in nitrogen assimilation and heterocyst formation in Anabaena sp. PCC 7120. We demonstrated that the expression of several essential genes increases in the BMAA presence under repressive conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: BMAA; cyanobacteria; cyanotoxin; heterocyst differentiation; gene expression BMAA; cyanobacteria; cyanotoxin; heterocyst differentiation; gene expression

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Popova, A.A.; Semashko, T.A.; Kostina, N.V.; Rasmussen, U.; Govorun, V.M.; Koksharova, O.A. The Cyanotoxin BMAA Induces Heterocyst Specific Gene Expression in Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 under Repressive Conditions. Toxins 2018, 10, 478.

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