Sucrose is one of several low-molecular-weight compounds that cyanobacteria accumulate in response to osmotic stress and which are believed to act as osmoprotectants. The genome of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 contains a 2163 bp open reading frame (ORF) that shows similarity to genes from higher plants encoding sucrose-phosphate synthase (SPS), the enzyme responsible for sucrose synthesis. The deduced amino acid sequence shows 35–39% identity with known higher-plant SPS sequences. The putative Synechocystis sps gene was cloned from genomic DNA by PCR amplification and expressed as a His6-tagged amino-terminal fusion protein in Escherichia coli. The expressed protein was purified and shown to be a functional SPS enzyme, confirming the identity of the ORF, which is the first sps gene to be cloned from a prokaryotic organism. The Synechocystis SPS has a molecular mass of 81.5 kDa, which is smaller than the typical higher-plant SPS subunit (117–119 kDa), and lacks the phosphorylation site motifs associated with light- and osmotic stress-induced regulation of SPS in higher plants. The enzyme has Km values for UDPG1c and Fru6P of 2.9 mM and 0.22 mM, respectively, with a Vmax of 17 μmol per minute per mg protein and a pH optimum of 8.5. Unlike the higher-plant enzyme, ADPG1c, CDPG1c and GDPG1c can substitute for UDPG1c as the glucosyl donor with Km values of 2.5, 7.2 and 1.8 mM, respectively. The enzyme is activated by Mg2+ but not by G1c6P, and is only weakly inhibited by inorganic phosphate. The purified protein was used to raise a high-titre antiserum, which recognises a low-abundance 81 kDa protein in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 extracts. There was no apparent increase in expression of the 81 kDa protein when the cells were exposed to moderate salt stress, and SPS activity was very low in extracts from both unstressed and salt- stressed cells. These results and the lack of evidence for sucrose accumulation in Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 lead to the conclusion that expression of the sps gene plays no obvious role in adaptation to osmotic stress in this species.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 30, 2004
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