, Volume 197, Issue 1, pp 147–155 | Cite as

Information about previous phosphate fluctuations is stored via an adaptive response of the high-affinity phosphate uptake system of the cyanobacterium Anacystis nidulans

  • Ferdinand Wagner
  • Renate Falkner
  • Gernot Falkner


The high-affinity uptake system of phosphatelimited cyanobacterium Anacystis nidulans [Synechococcus leopoliensis (Raciborski) Komarek] is characterized by a threshold value below which uptake cannot occur. Here it is shown that, if phosphate-limited cyanobacteria are challenged with a short pulse of high phosphate concentration that appreciably exceeds this threshold value, the uptake system undergoes an adaptive response, leading to the attainment of new kinetic properties and a new threshold value. These new properties are maintained for several hours after the pulse. A notable characteristic of this new state is a wide linear dependence of the uptake rate on the external phosphate potential that is a function of the driving force of the uptake process. According to theoretical arguments it is shown that this “linear operation mode” can be explained by the simultaneous operation of several uptake systems with different, staggered threshold values and kinetic properties. Moreover, the new linear uptake properties, in turn, reflect the prehistory of phosphate supply experienced by the population. The consequences of this result with regard to environmental fluctuations of the phosphate concentration in lakes are discussed.

Key words

Adaptation Anacystis Cyanobacterium Information storage Phosphate uptake system Threshold concentration 





net phosphate flux


conductivity coefficient


external phosphate concentration


[Pe] at equilibrium


threshold [Pe]


in-tracellular phosphate


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ferdinand Wagner
    • 1
  • Renate Falkner
    • 2
  • Gernot Falkner
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Limnology, Austrian Academy of SciencesMondseeAustria
  2. 2.Institute of Molecular Biology, Austrian Academy of SciencesSalzburgAustria

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