Many organisms harbor circadian clocks with periods close to 24 h. These cellular clocks allow organisms to anticipate the environmental cycles of day and night by synchronizing circadian rhythms with the rising and setting of the sun. These rhythms originate from the oscillator components of circadian clocks and control global gene expression and various cellular processes. The oscillator of photosynthetic cyanobacteria is composed of three proteins, KaiA, KaiB, and KaiC, linked to a complex regulatory network. Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 possesses the standard cyanobacterial kaiABC gene cluster plus multiple kaiB and kaiC gene copies and antisense RNAs for almost every kai transcript. However, there is no clear evidence of circadian rhythms in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 under various experimental conditions. It is also still unknown if and to what extent the multiple kai gene copies and kai antisense RNAs affect circadian timing. Moreover, a large number of small noncoding RNAs whose accumulation dynamics over time have not yet been monitored are known for Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Here we performed a 48-h time series transcriptome analysis of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, taking into account periodic light-dark phases, continuous light, and continuous darkness. We found that expression of functionally related genes occurred in different phases of day and night. Moreover, we found day-peaking and night-peaking transcripts among the small RNAs; in particular, the amounts of kai antisense RNAs correlated or anticorrelated with those of their respective kai target mRNAs, pointing toward the regulatory relevance of these antisense RNAs. Surprisingly, we observed that the amounts of 16S and 23S rRNAs in this cyanobacterium fluctuated in light-dark periods, showing maximum accumulation in the dark phase. Importantly, the amounts of all transcripts, including small noncoding RNAs, did not show any rhythm under continuous light or darkness, indicating the absence of circadian rhythms in Synechocystis.
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