The isolation of several biosynthetic genes from a cyanobacterium, Agmenellum quadruplicatum, by complementation of auxotrophic mutations in Escherichia coli, and their partial characterization, is described. Although our search for such genes has not been exhaustive, it appears that complementation of E. coli mutations may be of limited utility for the identification and/or isolation of cyanobacterial genes. Despite some overlap in the complementation abilities of these isolated cyanobacterial DNA fragments, the genes that we have studied in some detail are not located in operons. We have used mutagenized versions of these cyanobacterial DNA fragments to produce mutant phenotypes in the cyanobacterium, but clean auxotrophs were not obtained. Complementation of these mutant phenotypes can be obtained when the appropriate wild-type DNA fragment is introduced into the cyanobacterium on a shuttle vector. Recombination between two copies of a cyanobacterial gene occurs at high frequency in the cyanobacterium.
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