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Endosymbiotic heterocystous cyanobacteria synthesize different heterocyst glycolipids than free-living heterocystous cyanobacteria
Schouten, S.; Villareal, T.A.; Hopmans, E.C.; Mets, A.; Swanson, K.M.; Sinninghe Damsté, J.S. (2013). Endosymbiotic heterocystous cyanobacteria synthesize different heterocyst glycolipids than free-living heterocystous cyanobacteria. Phytochemistry 85: 115-121.
In: Phytochemistry. PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD: Oxford. ISSN 0031-9422, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

    Cyanobacteria [WoRMS]; Hemiaulus Heiberg, 1863 [WoRMS]; Richelia intracellularis J.Schmidt, 1901 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Heterocystous cyanobacteria; Hemiaulus; Richelia intracellularis;Glycolipids

Authors  Top 
  • Schouten, S., more
  • Villareal, T.A.
  • Hopmans, E.C., more
  • Mets, A., more
  • Swanson, K.M.
  • Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., more

    The heterocysts of limnetic nitrogen-fixing filamentous cyanobacteria contain unique glycolipids in their cell wall that create the distinctive gas impermeability of the heterocyst cell wall as well as serve as biomarker lipids for these microbes. It has been assumed that marine free-living and endosymbiotic cyanobacteria synthesize the same glycolipids although they have not been investigated in any detail. Here we report the glycolipid composition of several marine free-living heterocystous cyanobacteria as well as the heterocystous endosymbiont Richelia intracellularis found in the biogeochemically important diatoms Hemiaulus hauckii and Hemiaulus membranaceus. In the marine cyanobacteria Nostoc muscorum and Calothrix sp., we detected the same glycolipids as found in freshwater representatives of these genera. However, we did not detect these glycolipids in the Hemiaulus-Richelia association. Instead, we identified glycolipids which comprised a C-5 sugar, ribose, rather than the C-6 sugars normally encountered in glycolipids of free-living cyanobacteria. In addition, the glycolipids had slightly longer chain lengths (C-30 and C-32 versus C-26 and C-28) in the aglycone moiety. The different glycolipid composition of the marine endosymbotic heterocystous cyanobacteria compared to their free-living counterparts may be an adaptation to the high intracellular O-2 concentrations within their host. These glycolipids may provide unique tracers for the presence of these microbes in marine environments and permit exploration of the evolutionary origins of these symbioses.

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