The cylindrospermopsin gene cluster of Aphanizomenon sp. strain 10E6: organization and recombination

Microbiology (Reading). 2010 Aug;156(Pt 8):2438-2451. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.036988-0. Epub 2010 Apr 29.


Cylindrospermopsin (CYN), a potent hepatoxin, occurs in freshwaters worldwide. Several cyanobacterial species produce the toxin, but the producing species vary between geographical regions. Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, a common algae species in temperate fresh and brackish waters, is one of the three well-documented CYN producers in European waters. So far, no genetic information on the CYN genes of this species has been available. Here, we describe the complete CYN gene cluster, including flanking regions from the German Aphanizomenon sp. strain 10E6 using a full genome sequencing approach by 454 pyrosequencing and bioinformatic identification of the gene cluster. In addition, we have sequenced a approximately 7 kb fragment covering the genes cyrC (partially), cyrA and cyrB (partially) of the same gene cluster in the CYN-producing Aphanizomenon sp. strains 10E9 and 22D11. Comparisons with the orthologous gene clusters of the Australian Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii strains AWT205 and CS505 and the partial gene cluster of the Israeli Aphanizomenon ovalisporum strain ILC-146 revealed a high gene sequence similarity, but also extensive rearrangements of gene order. The high sequence similarity (generally higher than that of 16S rRNA gene fragments from the same strains), atypical GC-content and signs of transposase activities support the suggestion that the CYN genes have been horizontally transferred.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids
  • Aphanizomenon / genetics*
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Base Composition
  • Comparative Genomic Hybridization
  • Cylindrospermopsis / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family*
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Uracil / analogs & derivatives*
  • Uracil / biosynthesis


  • Alkaloids
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • cylindrospermopsin
  • Uracil

Associated data

  • GENBANK/GQ385961
  • GENBANK/HM131805