Phylogeny, diversity and toxin production related to cyanobacterial symbioses

by Papaefthimiou, Dimitra

Abstract (Summary)
Phylogeny and morphology were examined for the cyanobionts from the water fern Azolla and the cyanobacterial genus Nostoc originating from symbioses with different host plants (genera Gunnera, Cycas, Dioon, Encephalarthos, Macrozamia, and Anthoceros), the lichen genus Pannaria, and free-living Nostoc isolates from different habitats. Nostoc isolates of Pannaria formed a closely related group, but, in general, no monophyletic nature was attributed to the genus Nostoc, in contrast to the cyanobionts from Azolla which were contained in a unique monophyletic group. No correlation was detected between the diversity of the studied cyanobacteria and their geographical origin, while high host specificity was proved for the Azolla cyanobionts and the Nostoc isolates from the bipartite Pannaria lichen. Two patterns of evolution leading to symbiotically competent heterocystous cyanobacteria were distinguished, one comprising symbiotic Nostoc species and the other comprising cyanobacteria in association with the water fern Azolla.The production of the non-protein amino acid BMAA, a potential neurotoxin, was also examined. A rapid and sensitive method involving the lysis and extraction of amino acids from cyanobacteria combined with an HPLC assay for fluorescence detection of BMAA was developed. To determine whether the plant or the cyanobacterium was the origin of the BMAA in the cyanobacterium-Azolla symbiosis, the cyanobacterium-free Azolla pinnata var imbricata strain 511 was examined. HPLC analysis demonstrated a significant BMAA production in the absence of the cyanobacterium. However, PCR and cloning revealed the presence of bacteria of the genus Ochrobactrum in the plant.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Stockholms universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Biology; Organism biology; Plant physiology; Azolla; BMAA; cyanobacteria; cyanobionts; cyanolichens; diversity; HPLC; Nostoc; phylogeny; symbiosis; Plant Physiology; växtfysiologi


Date of Publication:01/01/2007

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