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  • Patrick Jung

Final Destination? - Genomic and classical Insights into a new Cyanobacterial Species

Unicellular cyanobacteria inhabit a wide range of ecosytems and can be found throughout the phylum offering space for taxonomic confusion. One example is strain PCC 6712 that was described as Chlorogloea sp. (Nostocales) and later assigned to the genus Chroococcidiopsis (Chroococcidiopsidales). We now show that this strain belongs to the order Pleurocapsales and term it Hyella disjuncta based on morphology, genome analyses and 16S-23S ITS rRNA phylogeny. Genomic analysis indicated that H. disjuncta PCC 6712 shared about 44.7% orthologue genes with its closest relative H. patelloides. Furthermore, 12 cryptic biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) with potential bioactivity, such as a mycosporine-like amino acid BGC, were detected. Interestingly, the full set of nitrogen fixation genes was found in H. disjuncta PCC 6712 despite its inability to grow on nitrogen-free medium. A comparison of genes responsible for multicellularity was performed, indicating that most of these genes were present and related to those found in other cyanobacterial orders. This is in contrast to the formation of pseudofilaments—a main feature of the genus Hyella—which is weakly expressed in H. disjuncta PCC 6712 but prominent in Hyella patelloides LEGE 07179. Thus, our study pinpoints crucial but hidden aspects of polyphasic cyanobacterial taxonomy.

The article was published in MDPI Life in the special issue 'Cyanobacteria: Advances in (Meta-)Genomics and Proteomics'.

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