Author(s): Hauf W, Watzer B, Roos N, Klotz A, Forchhammer K
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Abstract Cyanobacteria are photoautotrophic microorganisms which fix atmospheric carbon dioxide via the Calvin-Benson cycle to produce carbon backbones for primary metabolism. Fixed carbon can also be stored as intracellular glycogen, and in some cyanobacterial species like Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803, polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) accumulates when major nutrients like phosphorus or nitrogen are absent. So far only three enzymes which participate in PHB metabolism have been identified in this organism, namely, PhaA, PhaB, and the heterodimeric PHB synthase PhaEC. In this work, we describe the cyanobacterial PHA surface-coating protein (phasin), which we term PhaP, encoded by ssl2501. Translational fusion of Ssl2501 with enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) showed a clear colocalization to PHB granules. A deletion of ssl2501 reduced the number of PHB granules per cell, whereas the mean PHB granule size increased as expected for a typical phasin. Although deletion of ssl2501 had almost no effect on the amount of PHB, the biosynthetic activity of PHB synthase was negatively affected. Secondary-structure prediction and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy of PhaP revealed that the protein consists of two α-helices, both of them associating with PHB granules. Purified PhaP forms oligomeric structures in solution, and both α-helices of PhaP contribute to oligomerization. Together, these results support the idea that Ssl2501 encodes a cyanobacterial phasin, PhaP, which regulates the surface-to-volume ratio of PHB granules. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics