The front cover of the latest issue of Journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology featured the research work from Summons Lab on the synthesis of methylated hopanoids by cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme ATCC 29133S. This work discovered that by deleting the hpnP gene, Nostoc Punctiforme is not able to synthesize all 2-methylhopanoids, however, it produces much higher levels of two bacteriohopanepentol isomers than the wild type. The ΔhpnP mutant was found to have decreased growth rates under both pH and osmotic stress, confirming a role for 2-methylhopanoids in stress tolerance. Evidence of elevated photosystem II yield and NAD(P)H-dependent oxidoreductase activity in the ΔhpnP mutant under stress conditions, compared to the wild type, suggested that the absence of 2-methylhopanoids increases cellular metabolic rates under stress conditions.
Cover photograph: Scanning electron micrograph of the cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme ATCC 29133S forming akinetes (resting cells that are larger and rounder in morphology) under conditions of phosphate deprivation. N. punctiforme has a complex life cycle, in which, based on environmental signals, vegetative cells can differentiate into N2-fixing heterocysts, akinetes, or motile hormogonia. N. punctiforme ATCC 29133 was originally isolated from a symbiotic association with the gymnosperm cycad Macrozamia sp.; the 29133S strain is a spontaneous mutant that grows more rapidly and homogenously in liquid, producing slow hormogonia. (See related article at e00777–17.) (Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.)