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Non-ribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) and polyketide synthases (PKSs) are necessary for the production of a variety of secondary metabolites, such as siderophores involved in iron acquisition. In response to iron limitation, the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 synthesizes several siderophores. The chromosome of this organism contains a large gene cluster of 76 kb with 24 open-reading frames from all2658 to all2635, including those that encode seven NRPSs and two PKSs. The function of this gene cluster was unknown, and one possibility could be the synthesis of siderophores. These genes were indeed activated under conditions of iron limitation. One mutant, MΔ41–49, bearing a large deletion of 43.4 kb in this gene cluster, synthesized considerably less siderophores and contained less iron as compared with the wild type. Its growth rate was similar to the wild type in the presence of iron, but was reduced when iron became limiting. Two other mutants, MΔ44–45 and MΔ47–49, lacking either all2644 and all2645, or all2647, all2648 and all2649 respectively, produced more siderophores than MΔ41–49, but less than the wild type. These genes were also activated under oxidative stress conditions to which MΔ41–49 was highly sensitive, consistent with the importance of iron in oxidative stress response. We propose that this gene cluster is involved in the synthesis of siderophores in Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 and plays an important role in defence against oxidative stress.