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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00791

Diversity of growth patterns probed in live cyanobacterial cells using a fluorescent analog of a peptidoglycan precursor

 Ju-Yuan Zhang1, Gui-Ming Lin1, Wei-Yue Xing1 and Cheng-Cai Zhang1*
  • 1Institute of Hydrobiology (CAS), China

Cyanobacteria were the first oxygenic photosynthetic organisms during evolution and were ancestors of plastids. Cyanobacterial cells exhibit an extraordinary diversity in their size and shape, and bacterial cell morphology largely depends on the synthesis and the dynamics of the peptidoglycan (PG) layer. Here, we used a fluorescence analog of the PG synthesis precursor D-Ala, 7-hydroxycoumarin-amino-D-alanine (HADA), to probe the PG synthesis pattern in live cells of cyanobacteria with different morphology. They displayed diverse synthesis patterns, with some strains showing an intensive HADA incorporation at the septal region, whereas others gave an HADA signal distributed around the cells. Growth zones covering several cells at the tips of the filament were present in some filamentous strains such as in Arthrospira. In Anabaena PCC 7120, which is capable of differentiating heterocysts for N2 fixation, PG synthesis followed the cell division cycle. In addition, an HADA incorporation was strongly activated from 12-15 h following the initiation of heterocyst development, indicating a thickening of the PG layer in heterocysts. The PG synthesis pattern is diverse in cyanobacteria and responds to developmental regulation. The use of fluorescent analogs may serve as a useful tool for understanding the mechanisms of cell growth and morphogenesis operating in these organisms.

Keywords: Cyanobacteria, Peptidoglycan, Growth pattern, Cell Wall, heterocyst, HADA

Received: 15 Dec 2017; Accepted: 09 Apr 2018.

Edited by:

Rainer Kurmayer, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Reviewed by:

Vicente Mariscal, Instituto de Bioquímica Vegetal y Fotosíntesis (IBVF), Spain
Karl Forchhammer, Universität Tübingen, Germany  

Copyright: © 2018 Zhang, Lin, Xing and Zhang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Cheng-Cai Zhang, Institute of Hydrobiology (CAS), Wuhan, China,