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Function and Benefits of Natural Competence in Cyanobacteria: From Ecology to Targeted Manipulation

Matthias Schleiden Institute for Genetics, Bioinformatics and Molecular Botany, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, 07743 Jena, Germany
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Life 2020, 10(11), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10110249
Received: 27 September 2020 / Revised: 18 October 2020 / Accepted: 20 October 2020 / Published: 22 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular and Molecular Strategies in Cyanobacterial Survival)
Natural competence is the ability of a cell to actively take up and incorporate foreign DNA in its own genome. This trait is widespread and ecologically significant within the prokaryotic kingdom. Here we look at natural competence in cyanobacteria, a group of globally distributed oxygenic photosynthetic bacteria. Many cyanobacterial species appear to have the genetic potential to be naturally competent, however, this ability has only been demonstrated in a few species. Reasons for this might be due to a high variety of largely uncharacterised competence inducers and a lack of understanding the ecological context of natural competence in cyanobacteria. To shed light on these questions, we describe what is known about the molecular mechanisms of natural competence in cyanobacteria and analyse how widespread this trait might be based on available genomic datasets. Potential regulators of natural competence and what benefits or drawbacks may derive from taking up foreign DNA are discussed. Overall, many unknowns about natural competence in cyanobacteria remain to be unravelled. A better understanding of underlying mechanisms and how to manipulate these, can aid the implementation of cyanobacteria as sustainable production chassis. View Full-Text
Keywords: cyanobacteria; DNA uptake; DNA processing; type IV pili; T4P; com genes; pil genes; natural competence; transformation; genetic engineering cyanobacteria; DNA uptake; DNA processing; type IV pili; T4P; com genes; pil genes; natural competence; transformation; genetic engineering
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schirmacher, A.M.; Hanamghar, S.S.; Zedler, J.A.Z. Function and Benefits of Natural Competence in Cyanobacteria: From Ecology to Targeted Manipulation. Life 2020, 10, 249. https://doi.org/10.3390/life10110249

AMA Style

Schirmacher AM, Hanamghar SS, Zedler JAZ. Function and Benefits of Natural Competence in Cyanobacteria: From Ecology to Targeted Manipulation. Life. 2020; 10(11):249. https://doi.org/10.3390/life10110249

Chicago/Turabian Style

Schirmacher, Alexandra M., Sayali S. Hanamghar, and Julie A.Z. Zedler 2020. "Function and Benefits of Natural Competence in Cyanobacteria: From Ecology to Targeted Manipulation" Life 10, no. 11: 249. https://doi.org/10.3390/life10110249

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