Special Issue "Developmental Biology in Cyanobacteria"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2018).
Interests: transcriptional regulation; NtcA transcription factor; bacterial cell differentiation; bacterial cell division; intercellular communication in multicellular bacteria
Interests: transcriptional regulation; NtcA transcription factor; bacterial cell differentiation; membrane transport; intercellular communication
Filamentous, heterocyst-forming cyanobacteria constitute a genuine example of bacterial multicellularity. During cell division, the resulting daughter cells do not separate as in unicellular bacteria, but they remain bound by an unsplit outer membrane, which determines the presence of a continuous shared periplasm, and by proteinaceous structures—Septal juntions—that in addition to adhesion provide conduits for intercellular exchange of metabolites and regulatory molecules. Additionally, these cyanobacteria can undertake different developmental paths in response to diverse environmental cues. One of them is the differentiation of some cells of the filament into heterocysts, cells specialized in the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen, that takes place under conditions of nitrogen scarcity.
Heterocyst differentiation involves multiple morphological and biochemical changes to allow the efficient operation of the nitrogenase complex, including the provision of reducing equivalents and energy and the conformation of a micro-oxic cytoplasm. All these cellular changes result from an extensive program of gene expression regulation, which remarkably exhibits a precise spatiotemporal specificity. Indeed, heterocysts are semiregularly distributed, frequently occurring separated by stretches of ca. 10 to 15 vegetative cells along the filament, as found in the model strain Anabaena sp. PCC 7120. Because the heterocysts donate fixed nitrogen to the vegetative cells, whereas these perform the photosynthetic fixation of CO2 and provide the heterocysts with reduced carbon, the cyanobacterial diazotrophic filament fulfill the ultimate feature of multicellular organisms, namely the division of labor between different cell types.
This Special Issue of Life includes review and original research articles dealing with the complexity of heterocyst-forming cyanobacteria, gene expression regulation during heterocyst differentiation, heterocyst patterning and intercellular communication.
Prof. Dr. Antonia Herrero Moreno
Prof. Dr. Enrique Flores García
Manuscript Submission Information
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- bacterial developmental patterns
- cell-to-cell gene-expression noise
- intercellular communication
- multicellular cyanobacteria
- nitrogen fixation
- transcriptional regulation