Bhalerao RP, Lind LK, Persson CE, Gustafsson P
Cloning of the Phycobilisome Rod Linker Genes from the Cyanobacterium Synechococcus Sp Pcc-6301 and Their Inactivation in Synechococcus Sp Pcc-7942
Molecular & General Genetics: 1993 237:89-96
The phycobilisome rod linker genes in the two closely related cyanobacteria Synechococcus sp. PCC 6301 and Synechococcus sp. PCC 7942 were studied. Southern blot analysis showed that the genetic organization of the phycobilisome rod operon is very similar in the two strains. The phycocyanin gene pair is duplicated and separated by a region of about 2.5 kb. The intervening region between the duplicated phycocyanin gene pair was cloned from Synechococcus sp. PCC 6301 and sequenced. Analysis of this DNA sequence revealed the presence of three open reading frames corresponding to 273, 289 and 81 amino acids, respectively. Insertion of a kanamycin resistance cassette into these open reading frames indicated that they corresponded to the genes encoding the 30, 33 and 9 kDa rod linkers, respectively, as judged by the loss of specific linkers from the phycobilisomes of the insertional mutants. Amino acid compositions of the 30 and 33 kDa linkers derived from the DNA sequence were found to deviate from those of purified 33 and 30 kDa linkers in the amounts of glutamic acid/glutamine residues. On the basis of similarity of the amino acid sequence of the rod linkers between Synechococcus sp. PCC 6301 and Calothrix sp. PCC 7601 we name the genes encoding the 30, 33 and 9 kDa linkers cpcH, cpcI and cpcD, respectively. The three linker genes were found to be co-transcribed on an mRNA of 3700 nucleotides. However, we also detected a smaller species of mRNA, of 3400 nucleotides, which would encode only the cpcH and cpcI genes. The 30 kDa linker was still found in phycobilisome rods lacking the 33 kDa linker and the 9 kDa linker was detected in mutants lacking the 33 or the 30 kDa linkers. Free phycocyanin was found in the mutants lacking the 33 or the 30 kDa linkers, whereas no free phycocyanin could be found in the mutant lacking the 9 kDa linker.
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