Global proteomics reveal an atypical strategy for carbon/nitrogen assimilation by a cyanobacterium under diverse environmental perturbations

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2010 Dec;9(12):2678-89. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M110.000109. Epub 2010 Sep 21.


Cyanobacteria, the only prokaryotes capable of oxygenic photosynthesis, are present in diverse ecological niches and play crucial roles in global carbon and nitrogen cycles. To proliferate in nature, cyanobacteria utilize a host of stress responses to accommodate periodic changes in environmental conditions. A detailed knowledge of the composition of, as well as the dynamic changes in, the proteome is necessary to gain fundamental insights into such stress responses. Toward this goal, we have performed a large-scale proteomic analysis of the widely studied model cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 under 33 different environmental conditions. The resulting high-quality dataset consists of 22,318 unique peptides corresponding to 1955 proteins, a coverage of 53% of the predicted proteome. Quantitative determination of protein abundances has led to the identification of 1198 differentially regulated proteins. Notably, our analysis revealed that a common stress response under various environmental perturbations, irrespective of amplitude and duration, is the activation of atypical pathways for the acquisition of carbon and nitrogen from urea and arginine. In particular, arginine is catabolized via putrescine to produce succinate and glutamate, sources of carbon and nitrogen, respectively. This study provides the most comprehensive functional and quantitative analysis of the Synechocystis proteome to date, and shows that a significant stress response of cyanobacteria involves an uncommon mode of acquisition of carbon and nitrogen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Carbon / metabolism*
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Nitrogen / metabolism*
  • Proteomics*
  • Synechocystis / genetics
  • Synechocystis / metabolism*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Carbon
  • Nitrogen