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Genetic tools for cyanobacteria



Cyanobacteria are oxygenic photosynthetic bacteria that have been used increasingly to study diverse biological processes, including photosynthesis and its regulation; cell differentiation and N 2 fixation; metabolism of nitrogen, carbon, and hydrogen; resistance to environmental stresses; and molecular evolution. Many vectors and other genetic tools have been developed for unicellular and filamentous strains of cyanobacteria. Transformation, electroporation, and conjugation are used for gene transfer. Diverse methods of mutagenesis allow the isolation of many sought-for kinds of mutants, including site-directed mutants of specific genes. Reporter genes permit measurement of the level of transcription of particular genes, and assays of transcription within individual colonies or within individual cells in a filament. Complete genomic sequences have been obtained for the unicellular cyanobacterium, Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 and the filamentous, heterocyst-forming cyanobacterium, Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120. Genomic sequence projects are under way for Nostoc punctiforme strain PCC 73102 (ATCC 29133) and strains of the unicellular genera, Synechococcus , Prochlorococcus , and Gloeobacter . Genomic sequence data provide the opportunity for global monitoring of changes in genetic expression at transcriptional and translational levels in response to variations in environmental conditions. The availability of genomic sequences accelerates the identification, study, modification and comparison of cyanobacterial genes, and facilitates analysis of evolutionary relationships, including the relationship of chloroplasts to ancient cyanobacteria. The many available genetic tools enhance the opportunities for possible biotechnological applications of cyanobacteria.



Applied Microbiology and BiotechnologySpringer Journals

Published: Jan 1, 2002

DOI: 10.1007/s00253-001-0864-9

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