Iron availability affects mcyD expression and microcystin-LR synthesis in Microcystis aeruginosa PCC7806

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SummaryMicrocystins are toxins produced by cyanobacteria that entail serious health and environmental problems. They are cyclic heptapeptides synthesized via a mixed polyketide synthase/non-ribosomal peptide synthetase system called microcystin synthetase. Environmental and nutritional factors that trigger microcystin synthesis are still debated and this work deals with the study of the influence of iron nutritional status on the microcystin synthesis. The results indicate that iron deficiency could be one of the inducing factors of the microcystin synthesis. For the first time, increased transcription of an essential mcy gene and correlative microcystin synthesis has been established. Real-time PCR analysis of mcyD, and microcystin-LR synthesis were studied on Microcystis aeruginosa PCC7806 grown in iron-replete and iron-deplete media. Iron starvation causes an increase of mcyD transcription, correlative to the increase of microcystin-LR levels. Four transcription start points were identified for mcyD and two for mcyA, and they are not changed as a consequence of iron deficiency.

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