Perception and transduction of low-temperature signals to induce desaturation of fatty acids

Biochem Soc Trans. 2000 Dec;28(6):628-30.


When cells of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 are exposed to a low temperature, genes for fatty acid desaturases are expressed with resultant increases in the degree of unsaturation of fatty acids in membrane lipids. However, the sensor and transducers of low-temperature signals had not yet been identified. In order to identify these components we applied to the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 the systematic disruption of all 43 putative genes for histidine kinases and random mutagenesis of the whole genome in conjunction with screening by the transcriptional activity of the promoter of the desB gene for the omega3 desaturase. This allowed us to identify two histidine kinases and a response regulator as components of the perception and transduction of low-temperature signals for the expression of genes for fatty acid desaturases.

MeSH terms

  • Cold Temperature
  • Cyanobacteria / enzymology*
  • Cyanobacteria / genetics*
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases / genetics*
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • Histidine Kinase
  • Mutagenesis
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Signal Transduction


  • Fatty Acid Desaturases
  • Protein Kinases
  • Histidine Kinase