Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 198, Issue 2, pp 137–147 | Cite as

The non-metabolizable sucrose analog sucralose is a potent inhibitor of hormogonium differentiation in the filamentous cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme

  • Samantha D. Splitt
  • Douglas D. Risser
Original Paper


Nostoc punctiforme is a filamentous cyanobacterium which forms nitrogen-fixing symbioses with several different plants and fungi. Establishment of these symbioses requires the formation of motile hormogonium filaments. Once infected, the plant partner is thought to supply a hormogonium-repressing factor (HRF) to maintain the cyanobacteria in a vegetative, nitrogen-fixing state. Evidence implies that sucrose may serve as a HRF. Here, we tested the effects of sucralose, a non-metabolizable sucrose analog, on hormogonium differentiation. Sucralose inhibited hormogonium differentiation at a concentration approximately one-tenth that of sucrose. This result implies that: (1) sucrose, not a sucrose catabolite, is perceived by the cell and (2) inhibition is not due to a more general osmolarity-dependent effect. Additionally, both sucrose and sucralose induced the accrual of a polysaccharide sheath which bound specifically to the lectin ConA, indicating the presence of α-d-mannose and/or α-d-glucose. A ConA-specific polysaccharide was also found to be expressed in N. punctiforme colonies from tissue sections of the symbiotically grown hornwort Anthoceros punctatus. These findings imply that plant-derived sucrose or sucrose analogs may have multiple effects on N. punctiforme, including both repression of hormogonia and the induction of a polysaccharide sheath that may be essential to establish and maintain the symbiotic state.


Symbiosis Hormogonia Nostoc punctiforme Anthoceros punctatus Sucrose Sucralose 



We would like to thank Marcos Gridi-Papp for his assistance in sectioning A. punctatus tissue and the Lin-Cereghino laboratory for use of and assistance with their vacuum blotting module.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of the PacificStocktonUSA

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