Unravelling the cross-talk between iron starvation and oxidative stress responses highlights the key role of PerR (alr0957) in peroxide signalling in the cyanobacterium Nostoc PCC 7120



The cyanobacterial phylum includes oxygenic photosynthetic prokaryotes of a wide variety of morphologies, metabolisms and ecologies. Their adaptation to their various ecological niches is mainly achieved by sophisticated regulatory mechanisms and depends on a fine cross-talk between them. We assessed the global transcriptomic response of the filamentous cyanobacterium Nostoc PCC 7120 to iron starvation and oxidative stress. More than 20% of the differentially expressed genes in response to iron stress were also responsive to oxidative stress. These transcripts include antioxidant proteins-encoding genes that confirms that iron depletion leads to reactive oxygen accumulation. The activity of the Fe-superoxide dismutase was not significantly decreased under iron starvation, indicating that the oxidative stress generated under iron deficiency is not a consequence of (SOD) deficiency. The transcriptional data indicate that the adaptation of Nostoc to iron-depleted conditions displays important differences with what has been shown in unicellular cyanobacteria. While the FurA protein that regulates the response to iron deprivation has been well characterized in Nostoc, the regulators in charge of the oxidative stress response are unknown. Our study indicates that the alr0957 (perR) gene encodes the master regulator of the peroxide stress. PerR is a peroxide-sensor repressor that senses peroxide by metal-catalysed oxidation.