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Excision of an 11-kilobase-pair DNA element from within the nifD gene in anabaena variabilis heterocysts

Excision of an 11-kilobase-pair DNA element from within the nifD gene in anabaena variabilis heterocysts

Journal of Bacteriology 171(8): 4138-4145

The 3' region of the Anabaena variabilis nifD gene contains an 11-kilobase-pair element which is excised from the chromosome during the heterocyst differentiation. We have sequenced the recombination sites which border the element in vegetative cells and the rearranged heterocyst sequences. In vegetative cells, the element was flanked by 11-base-pair direct repeats which were identifical to the repeats present at the ends of the nifD element in Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 (Anabaena strain 7120). Although Anabaena strain 7120 and A. variabilis are quite distinct in many ways, the overall sequence similarity between the two strains for the regions sequenced was 96%. Like the Anabaena strain 7120 element, the A. variabilis element was excised in heterocysts to produce a functional nifD gene and a free circularized element which was neither amplified nor degraded. The Anabaena strain 7120 xisA gene is located at the nifK-proximal end of the nifD element and is required for excision of the element in heterocysts. The A. variabilis element also contained an xisA gene which could complement a defective Anabaena strain 7120 xisA gene. A. variabilis did not contain the equivalent of the Anabaena strain 7120 fdxN 55-kilobase-pair element.

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Accession: 001831105

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PMID: 2502534

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