Regulation of Genes Involved in Heterocyst Differentiation in the Cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. Strain PCC 7120 by a Group 2 Sigma Factor SigC

Life (Basel). 2015 Feb 16;5(1):587-603. doi: 10.3390/life5010587.


The filamentous cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 differentiates specialized cells for nitrogen fixation called heterocysts upon limitation of combined nitrogen in the medium. During heterocyst differentiation, expression of approximately 500 genes is upregulated with spatiotemporal regulation. In the present study, we investigated the functions of sigma factors of RNA polymerase in the regulation of heterocyst differentiation. The transcript levels of sigC, sigE, and sigG were increased during heterocyst differentiation, while expression of sigJ was downregulated. We carried out DNA microarray analysis to identify genes regulated by SigC, SigE, and SigG. It was indicated that SigC regulated the expression of genes involved in heterocyst differentiation and functions. Moreover, genes regulated by SigC partially overlapped with those regulated by SigE, and deficiency of SigC was likely to be compensated by SigE.