Sukenik Assaf

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Sukenik
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Assaf
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Massive multiplication of genome and ribosomes in dormant cells (akinetes) of Aphanizomenon ovalisporum (Cyanobacteria)

2011-08 , Sukenik, Assaf , Kaplan-Levy, Ruth N. , Mark Welch, Jessica L. , Post, Anton F.

Akinetes are dormancy cells commonly found among filamentous cyanobacteria, many of which are toxic and/or nuisance, bloom-forming species. Development of akinetes from vegetative cells is a process that involves morphological and biochemical modifications. Here we applied a single cell approach to quantify genome and ribosome content of akinetes and vegetative cells in Aphanizomenon ovalisporum (Cyanobacteria). Vegetative cells of A. ovalisporum were naturally polyploid and contained on average 8 genome copies per cell. However, the chromosomal content of akinetes increased up to 450 copies, with an average value of 119 genome copies per akinete, 15 fold higher that in vegetative cells. Based on fluorescence in situ hybridization with a probe targeting 16S rRNA and detection with confocal laser scanning microscopy we conclude that ribosomes accumulated in akinetes to a higher level than that found in vegetative cells. We further present evidence that this massive accumulation of nucleic acids in akinetes is likely supported by phosphate supplied from inorganic polyphosphate bodies that were abundantly present in vegetative cells, but notably absent from akinetes. These results are interpreted in the context of cellular investments for proliferation following long term dormancy, as the high nucleic acid content would provide the basis for extended survival, rapid resumption of metabolic activity and cell division upon germination.