The effect of the arginine analogue, canavanine on growth and heterocyst differentiation in the nitrogen-fixing algaAnabaena doliolum has been studied. The analogue inhibited growth and heterocyst differentiation at a concentration as low as 1 μM. The treated algal cells lacked conspicuous granular inclusions, whereas treatment with chloramphenicol led to increased synthesis of granules (probably cyanophycin granules). Exogenously added arginine completely reversed the effect of the analogue but lysine could only partially relieve the effect. A time course study with canavanine indicated inhibition of fresh protein(s) synthesis at all steps where a new class of proteins is synthesized so that the action of the analogue does not seem to be specific for a particular kind of protein. A mutant resistant to this analogue has been successfully isolated indicating that this alga does not show mutational immunity at least to the amino acid analogues unlike in the observation with different antibiotics. Our observations indicate that canavanine either directly inhibits protein synthesis or forms defective protein(s) which produces all the observed effects.
Volume 46, 2021
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