Hydrogen uptake by the nitrogen-starved cyanobacterium Anabaena cylindrica

  • Lambert G
  • Smith G
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The role of the oxyhydrogen reaction in the nitrogen metabolism of Anabaena cylin-drica, particularly under conditions of dinitrogen starvation, was investigated. It was shown that although this reaction supports nitrogenase activity in the dark, when the cells are deprived of nitrogen the rate of hydrogen uptake is little changed. Measurements of ammonia excretion into the medium in the presence of methionine sulfoximine under such conditions indicated that hydrogen uptake supported the turnover of cell protein as an alternative source of nitrogen. In the absence of H2and O2in the dark, nitrogenase activity was negligible but protein turnover continued. In their presence nitrogenase activity was greatly stimulated; turnover was also stimulated but to a greater extent in the absence of nitrogenase substrates. The oxyhydrogen reaction also stimulated uptake of ammonium ions by intact filaments in argon in the dark. Only at very low hydrogen tensions can net hydrogen formation be obtained in argon/CO2in the light, casting considerable doubt on the suitability of hydrogenase-containing organisms for biophotolytic hydrogen formation. Addition of exogenous ammonia to the cultures incubated in argon resulted in a pronounced stimulation of H2uptake; nitrate and its derivatives had no such effect, nor did various amino acid derivatives of ammonia. © 1981.

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  • Grant R. Lambert

  • Geoffrey D. Smith

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