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FraC/FraD-dependent intercellular molecular exchange in the filaments of a heterocyst-forming cyanobacterium, Anabaena sp.

AuthorsMerino-Puerto, Victoria ; Schwarz, Heinz; Maldener, Iris; Mariscal, Vicente ; Mullineaux, Conrad W.; Herrero, Antonia ; Flores, Enrique
Issue Date2011
PublisherBlackwell Publishing
CitationMolecular Microbiology 82: 87- 98 (2011)
AbstractThe filamentous, heterocyst-forming cyanobacteria are multicellular organisms in which two different cell types, the CO2-fixing vegetative cells and the N2-fixing heterocysts, exchange nutrients and regulators. In Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120, inactivation of sepJ or genes in the fraC operon (fraC, fraD and fraE) produce filament fragmentation. SepJ, FraC and FraD are cytoplasmic membrane proteins located in the filament's intercellular septa that are needed for intercellular exchange of the fluorescent tracer calcein (622Da). Transmission electron microscopy showed an alteration in the heterocyst cytoplasmic membrane at the vegetative cell-heterocyst septa in ΔfraC and ΔfraD mutants. Immunogold labelling of FraD confirmed its localization in the intercellular septa and clearly showed the presence of part of the protein between the cytoplasmic membranes of the adjacent cells. This localization seemed to be affected in the ΔfraC mutant but was not impaired in a ΔsepJ mutant. Intercellular transfer of a smaller fluorescent tracer, 5-carboxyfluorescein (374Da), was largely impaired in ΔfraC, ΔfraD and double ΔfraC-ΔfraD mutants, but much less in the ΔsepJ mutant. These results show the existence in the Anabaena filaments of a FraC/FraD-dependent intercellular molecular exchange that does not require SepJ. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2011.07797.x
issn: 0950-382X
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