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Transcription Activation by NtcA and 2-Oxoglutarate of Three Genes Involved in Heterocyst Differentiation in the Cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. Strain PCC 7120▿

By Ana Valladares, Enrique Flores and Antonia Herrero


In Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120, differentiation of heterocysts takes place in response to the external cue of combined nitrogen deprivation, allowing the organism to fix atmospheric nitrogen in oxic environments. NtcA, a global transcriptional regulator of cyanobacteria, is required for activation of the expression of multiple genes involved in heterocyst differentiation, including key regulators that are specific to the process. We have set up a fully defined in vitro system, which includes the purified Anabaena RNA polymerase, and have studied the effects of NtcA and its signaling effector 2-oxoglutarate on RNA polymerase binding, open complex formation, and transcript production from promoters of the hetC, nrrA, and devB genes that are activated by NtcA at different stages of heterocyst differentiation. Both RNA polymerase and NtcA could specifically bind to the target DNA in the absence of any effector. 2-Oxoglutarate had a moderate positive effect on NtcA binding, and NtcA had a limited positive effect on RNA polymerase recruitment at the promoters. However, a stringent requirement of both NtcA and 2-oxoglutarate was observed for the detection of open complexes and transcript production at the three investigated promoters. These results support a key role for 2-oxoglutarate in transcription activation in the developing heterocyst

Topics: Gene Regulation
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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