Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 186, Issue 5, pp 403–413 | Cite as

Negative control of the high light-inducible hliA gene and implications for the activities of the NblS sensor kinase in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus strain PCC 7942

  • Anthony D. Kappell
  • Devaki Bhaya
  • Lorraine G. van Waasbergen
Original Paper


The hliA gene of the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 is known to be upregulated by high-intensity light through the activity of the NblS sensor kinase. In this work it was found that, within the hliA upstream region, changes to the sequence around −30 to −25 (relative to the transcriptional start site) resulted in elevated hliA expression, implicating this region in negative regulation of the gene. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays performed were consistent with a protein binding this region that acts to keep the gene off in lower light. A reduction in gene dosage of nblS in vivo resulted in enhanced hliA expression, suggesting that negative control of hliA is mediated through NblS. An extended version of the high light regulatory 1 (HLR1) motif (previously described in Synechocystis PCC 6803) was identified within the sequence surrounding −30 to −25 of hliA. The extended HLR1 sequence was found upstream of other NblS-controlled genes from S. elongatus and Synechocystis PCC 6803 and upstream of hli genes from a variety of cyanobacterial and related genomes. These results point to the evolutionary conservation of the HLR1 element and its importance in NblS-mediated signaling and yield new insight into NblS-mediated control of gene expression.


Cyanobacteria High intensity light hliA gene HLR1 cis element NblS sensor kinase 





High light


High light regulatory 1 sequence


Low light



We thank Kavitha Salem for her help with RNA hybridizations and Kimberly Shahi for her help with GUS assays. This work was supported with funds to L.G.V. from The University of Texas at Arlington.

Supplementary material

203_2006_154_MOESM1_ESM.doc (484 kb)
Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony D. Kappell
    • 1
  • Devaki Bhaya
    • 2
  • Lorraine G. van Waasbergen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyThe University of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant BiologyCarnegie Institution of WashingtonStanfordUSA

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