• Joseph Thomas

      Articles written in Journal of Biosciences

    • Extracellular polypeptides ofAnabaena L-31: Evidence for their role in regulation of heterocyst formation

      K A V David Joseph Thomas

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      Extracellular polypeptides released by both N2-grown [peptide I] and NO3-grown [peptide II]Anabaena L-31 have molecular weight of approximately 3,500 but have distinctly different amino acid composition. Acid hydrolysis of the peptide I fraction (obtained by separation on Sephadex G-25) yielded ten amino acids whereas that from peptide II fraction yielded only 3 amino acids. On addition to a freshly inoculated N2-grown culture, the peptide I fraction stimulated pro-heterocyst and to a lesser extent heterocyst differentiation, whereas the peptide II fraction strongly inhibited differentiation. The inhibitory effect of polypeptide II fraction could not be relieved by methionine sulphoximine, which by itself enhances differentiation, but was greatly relieved by addition of the peptide I fraction. The data suggest but does not prove, thatAnabaena L-31 synthesises “inducer” or “inhibitor” peptides which could possibly control pattern formation.

    • Control of sporulation in the filamentous cyanobacteriumAnabaena torulosa

      Tonina A Fernandes Joseph Thomas

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      In the cyanobacteriumAnabaena torulosa, sporulation occurred even during the logarithmic growth phase. Sporulation was initiated by differentiation of the vegetative cell on one side, adjoining the heterocyst followed by differentiation of the vegetative cell on the other side. Subsequently, spores were differentiated alternately on either side to form spore strings. The sequence of sporulation supports the previous notion that a gradient of spore maturation exists in cyanobacteria and also indicates that the gradient is manifested unequally on either side of heterocysts. Sporulation was absent or negligible in a minerally enriched medium but ocurred readily in a minimal medium. The extent of sporulation was inversely related to phosphate concentration. Sporulation was enhanced at higher temperature. Incandescent light, but not fluorescent light, greatly stimulated sporulation suggesting possible involvement of red light in spore differentiation. Addition of filtrate, from 5 to 8 day old cultures, to freshly inoculatedA. torulosa greatly enhanced sporulation indicating the influence of extracellular products in spore formation.

    • Sodium transport in filamentous nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria

      Shree Kumar Apte Joseph Thomas

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      Two filamentous, nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria were examined for their salt tolerance and sodium (Na+) transport.Anabaena torulosa, a saline form, grew efficiently and fixed nitrogen even at 150 mM salt (NaCl) concentration while,Anabaena L-31, a fresh water cyanobacterium, failed to grow beyond 35 mM NaCl.Anabaena torulosa showed a rapidly saturating kinetics of Na+ transport with a high affinity for Na+(Km, 0.3 mM).Anabaena L-31 had a much lower affinity for Na+(Km, 2.8 mM) thanAnabaena torulosa and the pattern of uptake was somewhat different. BothAnabaena spp. exhibited an active Na+ extrusion which seems to be mediated by a Na+-K+ ATPase and aided by oxidative phosphorylation.Anabaena L-31 was found to retain much more intracellular Na+ thanAnabaena torulosa. The results suggest that the saline form tolerates high Na+ concentrations by curtailing its influx and also by an efficient Na+ extrusion, although these alone may not entirely account for its success in saline environment.

    • Sodium requirement and metabolism in nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria

      Joseph Thomas Shree Kumar Apte

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      Sodium affects the metabolism of eukaryotes and prokaryotes in several ways. This review collates information on the effects of Na+ on the metabolism of cyanobacteria with emphasis on the N2,fixing filamentous species. Na+ is required for nitrogenase activity inAnabaena torulosa, Anabaena L-31 andPlectonema boryanum. The features of this requirement have been mainly studied inAnabaena torulosa. The need for Na+ is specific and cannot be replaced by K+, Li+, Ca 2 + or Mg2+. Processes crucial for expression of nitrogenase such as molybdenum uptake, protection of the enzyme from oxygen inactivation and conformational activation of the enzyme are not affected by Na+. Mo-Fe protein and Fe protein, the two components of nitrogenase are synthesized in the absence of Na+ but the enzyme complex is catalytically inactive. Photoevolution of O2 and CO2 fixation, which are severely inhibited in the absence of Na+, are quickly restored by glutamine or glutamate indicating that Na+ deprivation affects photosynthesis indirectly due to deficiency in the products of N2 fixation. Na+ deprivation decreases phosphate uptake, nucleoside phosphate pool and nitrogenase activity. These effects are reversed by the addition of Na+ suggesting that a limitation of available ATP caused by reduced phosphate uptake results in loss of nitrogenase activity during Na+ starvation.

      Na+ influx inAnabaena torulosa andAnabaena L-31 is unaffected by low K+ concentration, is carrier mediated, follows Michaelis-Menten kinetics and is modulated mainly by membrane potential. Treatments which cause membrane depolarisation and hyperpolarisation inhibit and enhance Na+ influx respectively. These cyanobacteria exhibit rapid active efflux of Na+, in a manner different from the Na+/H+ antiporter mechanism found inAnacystis nidulans.

      Na+ requirement in nitrogen metabolism including nitrate assimilation, synthesis of amino acids and proteins, in respiration and oxidative phosphorylation, in transport of sugars and amino acids, cellular distribution of absorbed sodium, physiological basis of salt tolerance and prospects of reclamation of saline soils by cyanobacteria are the other aspects discussed in this review.

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