Complementation of Cobalamin Auxotrophy in Synechococcus sp Strain PCC 7002 and Validation of a Putative Cobalamin Riboswitch In Vivo


Adam A Perez, Zhenfeng Liu, Dmitry A Rodionov, Zhongkui Li, Donald A Bryant


Journal of Bacteriology


The euryhaline cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002 has an obligate requirement for exogenous vitamin B-12 (cobalamin), but little is known about the roles of this compound in cyanobacteria. Bioinformatic analyses suggest that only the terminal enzyme in methionine biosynthesis, methionine synthase, requires cobalamin as a coenzyme in Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002. Methionine synthase (MetH) catalyzes the transfer of a methyl group from N-5-methyl-5,6,7,8-tetrahydrofolate to L-homocysteine during L-methionine synthesis and uses methylcobalamin as an intermediate methyl donor. Numerous bacteria and plants alternatively employ a cobalamin-independent methionine synthase isozyme, MetE, that catalyzes the same methyl transfer reaction as MetH but uses N-5-methyl-5,6,7,8-tetrahydrofolate directly as the methyl donor. The cobalamin auxotrophy of Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002 was complemented by using the metE gene from the closely related cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 73109, which possesses genes for both methionine synthases. This result suggests that methionine biosynthesis is probably the sole use of cobalamin in Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002. Furthermore, a cobalamin-repressible gene expression system was developed in Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002 that was used to validate the presence of a cobalamin riboswitch in the promoter region of metE from Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 73109. This riboswitch acts as a cobalamin-dependent transcriptional attenuator for metE in that organism.



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