Identification and regulation of genes for cobalamin transport in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002

Adam A. Pérez, Dmitry A. Rodionov, Donald A. Bryant

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The cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002 is a cobalamin auxotroph and utilizes this coenzyme solely for the synthesis of L-methionine by methionine synthase (MetH). Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002 is unable to synthesize cobalamin de novo, and because of the large size of this tetrapyrrole, an active-transport system must exist for cobalamin uptake. Surprisingly, no cobalamin transport system was identified in the initial annotation of the genome of this organism. With more sophisticated in silico prediction tools, a btuB-cpdA-btuC-btuF operon encoding components putatively required for a B12 uptake (btu) system was identified. The expression of these genes was predicted to be controlled by a cobalamin riboswitch. Global transcriptional profiling by high-throughput RNA sequencing of a cobalamin-independent form of Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002 grown in the absence or presence of cobalamin confirmed regulation of the btu operon by cobalamin. Pérez et al. (A. A. Pérez, Z. Liu, D. A. Rodionov, Z. Li, and D. A. Bryant, J Bacteriol 198:2743-2752, 2016, developed a cobalamin- dependent yellow fluorescent protein reporter system in a Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002 variant that had been genetically modified to allow cobalamin-independent growth. This reporter system was exploited to validate components of the btu uptake system by assessing the ability of targeted mutants to transport cobalamin. The btuB promoter and a variant counterpart mutated in an essential element of the predicted cobalamin riboswitch were fused to a yfp reporter. The combined data indicate that the btuB-cpdA-btuF-btuC operon in this cyanobacterium is transcriptionally regulated by a cobalamin riboswitch.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2753-2761
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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