Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 is a cyanobacterium capable of performing several important biological functions: photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation, cell differentiation, cell-cell communication, etc. These activities require an extensive signaling capability in order to respond to the changing environment. Based on the genomic data, we have retrieved several gene families encoding signaling components. It is estimated that 211 genes encode two-component signaling elements, and 66 genes encode Ser/Thr kinases and phosphatases. These genes together represent 4.2% of the coding capacity of the whole genome, making Anabaena PCC 7120 a leading member among prokaryotes in terms of its signaling potential. It is known that two-component systems are composed of a few basic modules that can arrange into different structures best adapted for each signaling system. Many proteins in Anabaena PCC 7120 have incorporated both modules of two-component systems and catalytic domains of either Ser/Thr kinases or phosphatases. A family of 13 genes encode proteins with both a Ser/Thr kinase domain and a His kinase domain, and another four genes were also found whose products have both a response regulator domain and a Ser/Thr phosphatase domain. Of all the signaling proteins in Anabaena PCC 7120, about one third (35%) are conserved in the genome of the unicellular cyanobacterium strain Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Interestingly, one subfamily of His kinases and two subfamilies of response regulators are found in Anabaena PCC 7120 but are absent in Synechocystis PCC 6803. This study constitutes a basis for analyses of signal transduction in Anabaena PCC 7120 using functional genomic approaches.
Copyright 2002 Federation of European Microbiological Societies