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Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 177, Issue 4, pp 322–331 | Cite as

Effect of environmental factors on the synthesis of scytonemin, a UV-screening pigment, in a cyanobacterium (Chroococcidiopsis sp.)

  • Jesse G. Dillon
  • Cecelia M. Tatsumi
  • Patrick G. Tandingan
  • Richard W. CastenholzEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

The UV-screening pigment scytonemin is found in many species of ensheathed cyanobacteria. Past work has shown that the pigment is synthesized in response to exposure to UV-A irradiance. This study investigated the effect of other correlated stress factors including heat, osmotic and oxidative stress on the synthesis of scytonemin in a clonal cyanobacterial isolate (Chroococcidiopsis sp.) from an epilithic desert crust. Stress experiments were carried out both in conjunction with UV-A irradiance and in isolation. Increases in both temperature and photooxidative conditions in conjunction with UV-A caused a synergistic increase in the rate of scytonemin production. In contrast, increased salt concentration under UV-A irradiance inhibited scytonemin synthesis. However, unlike the responses to temperature and oxidative stress, cells synthesized low levels of scytonemin under osmotic stress in the absence of scytonemin-inducing irradiance. These results suggest that scytonemin induction may be regulated as a part of a complex stress response pathway in which multiple environmental signals affect its synthesis.

Cyanobacteria Scytonemin UV Osmotic stress Temperature stress Oxidative stress Desert crusts 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesse G. Dillon
    • 1
  • Cecelia M. Tatsumi
    • 1
  • Patrick G. Tandingan
    • 1
  • Richard W. Castenholz
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

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