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Identification of surface polysaccharides in akinetes, heterocysts and vegetative cells of Anabaena cylindrica using fluorescein-labeled lectins

Qiu, Yeyan, Tian, Shengni, Gu, Liping, Hildreth, Michael, Zhou, Ruanbao
Archives of microbiology 2019 v.201 no.1 pp. 17-25
Anabaena cylindrica, concanavalin A, ecophysiology, flow cytometry, galectins, mutants, nitrogen fixation, photosynthesis, polysaccharides, sugars, vegetative cells
In response to environmental changes, Anabaena cylindrica differentiate three cell types: vegetative cells for photosynthesis, heterocysts for nitrogen fixation, and akinetes for stress survival. Cell-surface polysaccharides play important roles in cyanobacterial ecophysiology. In this study, specific cell-surface sugars were discovered in heterocysts, akinetes and vegetative cells of A. cylindrica using 20 fluorescein-labeled lectins. Both N-acetylglucosamine-binding lectins WGA and succinylated WGA bound specifically to the vegetative cells. Akinetes bound to three mannose-binding lectins (LCA, PSA, and ConA), and one of the galactose-binding lectins (GSL-I). Heterocyst also bound to ConA. However, the heterocysts in all4388 mutant of Anabaena sp. PCC 7120, in which the putative polysaccharide export protein gene all4388 was disrupted, exhibited diminished binding to ConA. Identification of distinct cell-surface sugar helped us to understand the role of polysaccharide for each cell type. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting may be applicable in isolating each cell type for comparative “omics” studies among the three cell types.