Cultures of the cyanobacterial genus Cyanothece have been shown to produce high levels of biohydrogen. These strains are diazotrophic and undergo pronounced diurnal cycles when grown under N2-fixing conditions in light-dark cycles. We seek to better understand the way in which proteins respond to these diurnal changes, and we performed quantitative proteome analysis of Cyanothecesp. strains ATCC 51142 and PCC 7822 grown under 8 different nutritional conditions. Nitrogenase expression was limited to N2-fixing conditions, and in the absence of glycerol, nitrogenase gene expression was linked to the dark period. However, glycerol induced expression of nitrogenase during part of the light period, together with cytochrome c oxidase (Cox), glycogen phosphorylase (Glp), and glycolytic and pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) enzymes. This indicated that nitrogenase expression in the light was facilitated via higher levels of respiration and glycogen breakdown. Key enzymes of the Calvin cycle were inhibited in Cyanothece ATCC 51142 in the presence of glycerol under H2-producing conditions, suggesting a competition between these sources of carbon. However, in Cyanothece PCC 7822, the Calvin cycle still played a role in cofactor recycling during H2 production. Our data comprise the first comprehensive profiling of proteome changes in Cyanothece PCC 7822 and allow an in-depth comparative analysis of major physiological and biochemical processes that influence H2 production in both strains. Our results revealed many previously uncharacterized proteins that may play a role in nitrogenase activity and in other metabolic pathways and may provide suitable targets for genetic manipulation that would lead to improvement of large-scale H2 production.
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