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Inactivation of agmatinase expressed in vegetative cells alters arginine catabolism and prevents diazotrophic growth in the heterocyst-forming cyanobacterium Anabaena

AuthorsBurnat, Mireia CSIC ORCID ; Flores, Enrique CSIC ORCID
Arginine catabolism
Issue DateSep-2014
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
CitationMicrobiology Open, 3(5):777-792 (2014)
AbstractArginine decarboxylase produces agmatine, and arginase and agmatinase are ureohydrolases that catalyze the production of ornithine and putrescine from arginine and agmatine, respectively, releasing urea. In the genome of the filamentous, heterocyst-forming cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120, ORF alr2310 putatively encodes an ureohydrolase. Cells of Anabaena supplemented with [14C]arginine took up and catabolized this amino acid generating a set of labeled amino acids that included ornithine, proline, and glutamate. In an alr2310 deletion mutant, an agmatine spot appeared and labeled glutamate increased with respect to the wild type, suggesting that Alr2310 is an agmatinase rather than an arginase. As determined in cell-free extracts, agmatinase activity could be detected in the wild type but not in the mutant. Thus, alr2310 is the Anabaena speB gene encoding agmatinase. The ∆alr2310 mutant accumulated large amounts of cyanophycin granule polypeptide, lacked nitrogenase activity, and did not grow diazotrophically. Growth tests in solid media showed that agmatine is inhibitory for Anabaena, especially under diazotrophic conditions, suggesting that growth of the mutant is inhibited by non-metabolized agmatine. Measurements of incorporation of radioactivity from [14C]leucine into macromolecules showed, however, a limited inhibition of protein synthesis in the ∆alr2310 mutant. Analysis of an Anabaena strain producing an Alr2310-GFP (green fluorescent protein) fusion showed expression in vegetative cells but much less in heterocysts, implying compartmentalization of the arginine decarboxylation pathway in the diazotrophic filaments of this heterocyst-forming cyanobacterium
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mbo3.207
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