The gene slr0388 was previously annotated to encode a hypothetical protein in Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803. When a positively phototactic strain of this cyanobacterium was insertionally inactivated at slr0388, the mutants were not transformable, and appeared to aggregate as a result of increased bundling of type IV pili. Also, these mutants were rendered non-phototactic compared to the wild-type. Quantitative real-time PCR revealed a 3Â·5-fold increase in pilA1 transcript levels in the mutant over wild-type cells, while there were no changes in the level of pilT 1 and comA transcripts. Supernatant from mutant liquid culture contained more PilA1 protein, confirmed by mass spectrometric analysis, compared to the wild-type cells, which corresponded to the increase in pilA1 transcripts. The increase in PilA1 subunits may contribute to the bundling morphology of pili that was observed, which in turn may act to retard DNA uptake by hindering the retraction of pili. This gene is therefore proposed to be designated comF, as it possesses a phosphoribosyltransferase domain, a distinguishing feature of other ComF proteins of naturally transformable heterotrophic bacteria. This report is the second of a competence-related gene from Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803, the product of which does not show homology to other well-studied type IV pili proteins.
Nakasugi, K., Svenson, C. J., & Neilan, B. A. (2006). The competence gene, comF, from Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 is involved in natural transformation, phototactic motility and piliation. Microbiology, 152(12), 3623-3631. https://doi.org/10.1099/mic.0.29189-0