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Biological role of secondary metabolites in symbiotic cyanobacteria

Photo: Katrin Hinrichs


Nostoc punctiforme is a filamentous cyanobacterium capable of forming symbiotic associations with a wide range of plants including bryophytes, gymnosperms and an angiosperm. The strain exhibits extensive phenotypic characteristics and can differentiate three mutually exclusive cell types: nitrogen-fixing heterocysts, motile hormogonia and spore-like akinetes. One of the noticeable features of the genome is the extraordinary high number of gene clusters encoding nonribosomal peptide synthetases and polyketide synthases. We intend to test the functionality of these clusters and a possible involvement of the metabolites in the complex lifestyle and symbiotic competence of N. punctiforme. Our biological survey can guide the discovery and structural elucidation of novel secondary metabolites in symbiotic cyanobacteria.

Photo: Katrin Hinrichs
Photo: Anton Liaimer


Anton Liaimer, University of Tromsoe, Norway

Keishi Ishida, Katharina Graupner, Christian Hertweck, HKI Jena

Eric Helfrich, ETH Zürich

Holger Jenke-Kodama, OIST Okinawa, Japan

Photo: Anton Liaimer
Photo: Daniel Dehm


Guljamow, A., Kreische, M., Ishida, K., Liaimer, A., Altermark, B., Bähr, L., Hertweck, C., Ehwald, R., Dittmann, E. (2017) High density cultivation of terrestrial Nostoc strains leads to reprogramming of secondary metabolome. Appl. Environ. Microbiol, 83: e01510-17

Liaimer, A., Jensen, J.B., Dittmann, E. (2016) A Genetic and chemical perspective on symbiotic recruitment of cyanobacteria of the genus Nostoc into the host plant Blasia pusilla. Front. Microbiol., 7:1693. doi: 10.3389/fmib.2016.01693

Liaimer, A., Helfrich, E.J.N., Hinrichs, K., Guljamow, A., Ishida, K., Hertweck, C., Dittmann, E. (2015) Nostopeptolide plays a governing role during cellular differentiation of the symbiotic cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 112: 1862-1867.

Kehr, J.C., Dittmann, E. (2015) Biosynthesis and function of extracellular glycans in cyanobacteria. Life (Basel) 5: 164-180.

Liaimer, A., Jenke-Kodama. H., Ishida, K., Hinrichs, K., Stangeland, J., Hertweck, C., Dittmann, E. (2011) A polyketide interfers with cellular differentiation in the symbiotic cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme. Environmental Microbiology Reports, in press.

Photo: Daniel Dehm