Resequencing of a mutant bearing an iron starvation recovery phenotype defines Slr1658 as a new player in the regulatory network of a model cyanobacterium

Hagit Zer, Ketty Margulis, Jens Georg, Yoram Shotland, Gergana Kostova, Laure D. Sultan, Wolfgang R. Hess, Nir Keren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Photosynthetic microorganisms encounter an erratic nutrient environment characterized by periods of iron limitation and sufficiency. Surviving in such an environment requires mechanisms for handling these transitions. Our study identified a regulatory system involved in the process of recovery from iron limitation in cyanobacteria. We set out to study the role of bacterioferritin co-migratory proteins during transitions in iron bioavailability in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 using knockout strains coupled with physiological and biochemical measurements. One of the mutants displayed slow recovery from iron limitation. However, we discovered that the cause of the phenotype was not the intended knockout but rather the serendipitous selection of a mutation in an unrelated locus, slr1658. Bioinformatics analysis suggested similarities to two-component systems and a possible regulatory role. Transcriptomic analysis of the recovery from iron limitation showed that the slr1658 mutation had an extensive effect on the expression of genes encoding regulatory proteins, proteins involved in the remodeling and degradation of the photosynthetic apparatus and proteins modulating electron transport. Most significantly, expression of the cyanobacterial homologue of the cyclic electron transport protein PGR5 was upregulated 1000-fold in slr1658 disruption mutants. pgr5 transcripts in the Δslr1658 mutant retained these high levels under a range of stress and recovery conditions. The results suggest that slr1658 is part of a regulatory operon that, among other aspects, affects the regulation of alternative electron flow. Disruption of its function has deleterious results under oxidative stress promoting conditions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)235-245
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803
  • cyanobacteria
  • iron homeostasis
  • oxidative stress
  • photosynthesis
  • regulatory systems


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