Phosphorus deficiency alleviates iron limitation in Synechocystis cyanobacteria through direct PhoB-mediated gene regulation

Abstract

Iron and phosphorus are essential nutrients that exist at low concentrations in surface waters and may be co-limiting resources for phytoplankton growth. Here, we show that phosphorus deficiency increases the growth of iron-limited cyanobacteria (Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803) through a PhoB-mediated regulatory network. We find that PhoB, in addition to its well-recognized role in controlling phosphate homeostasis, also regulates key metabolic processes crucial for iron-limited cyanobacteria, including ROS detoxification and iron uptake. Transcript abundances of PhoB-targeted genes are enriched in samples from phosphorus-depleted seawater, and a conserved PhoB-binding site is widely present in the promoters of the target genes, suggesting that the PhoB-mediated regulation may be highly conserved. Our findings provide molecular insights into the responses of cyanobacteria to simultaneous iron/phosphorus nutrient limitation.

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© The Author(s) 2024. cc-by

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Citation

Qiu, G.-W., Zheng, W.-C., Yang, H.-M., Wang, Y.-Y., Qi, X., Huang, D., Dai, G.-Z., Shi, H., Price, N.M., & Qiu, B.-S.. 2024. Phosphorus deficiency alleviates iron limitation in Synechocystis cyanobacteria through direct PhoB-mediated gene regulation. Nature Communications, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-48847-4

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