Disentangling the Impact of Sulfur Limitation on Exopolysaccharide and Functionality of Alr2882 by In Silico Approaches in Anabaena sp. PCC 7120


The wide applications, uniqueness, and high quality of cyanobacterial exopolysaccharides (EPSs) have attracted many biotechnologists. Despite it, the inducers and molecular determinants of EPS biosynthesis in cyanobacteria are lesser known. Although, studies revealed that environmental cues especially C/N ratio as the prime modulator, the factors like light, temperature, moisture, and nutrient availability, etc. have been overlooked. Due to this, the possibilities to modify cyanobacterial system for achieving higher quantity of EPS either by modifying growth medium or metabolic engineering are restricted to few optimisations. Therefore, the present work describes the impact of sulfate limitations on the EPS production and compositions in the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. PCC 7120. Increased EPS production with enhanced expression of alr2882 was observed in lower sulfate supplementations; however, FTIR analysis depicted an altered composition of supramolecule. Furthermore, in silico analysis of Alr2882 depicted the presence of ExoD domain and three transmembrane regions, thereby indicating its membrane localisation and role in the EPS production. Additionally, the phylogeny and multiple sequence alignment showed vertical inheritance of exoD and conservation among cyanobacteria. The meta-threading template-based modelling and ab initio full atomic relaxation by LOMET and ModRefiner servers, respectively, also exhibited helical topology of Alr2882, with nine α-helices arranged antiparallel to the preceding one. Moreover, post-translational modifications predicted in Alr2882 indicated high order of molecular regulation underlining EPS production in Anabaena sp. PCC 7120. This study provides a foundation for understanding the EPS biosynthesis mechanism under sulfur limitation and the possible role of ExoD in cyanobacteria.

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We would like to thank Prof. C.P. Wolk for his kind gift of the Anabaena sp. PCC 7120. Central Instrumental Library (CIL), Department of Chemistry, BHU, Varanasi, is acknowledged for FTIR facility. The Head, Department of Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, is gratefully acknowledged for providing laboratory facilities. Surbhi Kharwar is also thankful to University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi, for their financial support in the form of SRF. Samujjal Bhattacharjee is thankful to Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for awarding junior research fellowship.

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Correspondence to Arun Kumar Mishra.

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Kharwar, S., Bhattacharjee, S. & Mishra, A.K. Disentangling the Impact of Sulfur Limitation on Exopolysaccharide and Functionality of Alr2882 by In Silico Approaches in Anabaena sp. PCC 7120. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 193, 1447–1468 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12010-021-03501-3

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  • Exopolysaccharides
  • Anabaena sp. PCC 7120
  • Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
  • Post-translational modifications
  • RT-PCR
  • Alr2882
  • In silico analysis
  • Sulfate