, Volume 198, Issue 4, pp 526–531 | Cite as

Changes in intracellular amino acids and organic acids induced by nitrogen starvation and nitrate or ammonium resupply in the cyanobacterium Phormidium laminosum

  • María I. Tapia
  • Jesús A. G. Ochoa de Alda
  • María J. Llama
  • Juan L. SerraEmail author


In Phormidium laminosum cells, nitrogen starvation caused a decrease in the intracellular levels of all amino acids, except glutamate, and an increase in the total level of the analyzed organic acids. The addition of nitrate or ammonium to N-starved cells resulted in substantial increases in the pool size of most amino acids. Upon addition of ammonium the total level of organic acids diminished, whereas it increased upon addition of nitrate, after a transient decay during the first minutes. Nitrogen resupply stimulated amino acid synthesis, the effect being faster and higher when ammonium was assimilated. The data indicate that nitrate and ammonium assimilation induced an enhancement of carbon flow through the glycolytic and the tricarboxylic-acid pathways to amino acid biosynthesis, with a concurrent decrease in the carbohydrate reserves. The results suggest that the availability of carbon skeletons limited the rate of ammonium assimilation, whereas the availability of reducing equivalents limited the rate of nitrate assimilation.

Key words

Ammonium assimilation Carbon-nitrogen interactions Cyanobacteria Nitrate assimilation Nitrogen starvation Phormidium 





ferredoxin-dependent glutamate synthase (EC


glutamine synthetase (EC


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • María I. Tapia
    • 1
  • Jesús A. G. Ochoa de Alda
    • 1
  • María J. Llama
    • 1
  • Juan L. Serra
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad del País VascoBilbaoSpain

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