A novel gene encoding amidinotransferase in the cylindrospermopsin producing cyanobacterium Aphanizomenon ovalisporum


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The hepatotoxin cylindrospermopsin is produced by several cyanobacteria species, which may flourish in tropical and sub-tropical lakes. Biosynthesis of cylindrospermopsin is poorly understood but its chemical nature, and feeding experiments with stable isotopes, suggested that guanidinoacetic acid is the starter unit and indicated involvement of a polyketide synthase. We have identified a gene encoding an amidinotransferase from the cylindrospermopsin producing cyanobacterium Aphanizomenon ovalisporum. This is the first report on an amidinotransferase gene in cyanobacteria. It is likely to be involved in the formation of guanidinoacetic acid. The aoaA is located in a genomic region bearing genes encoding a polyketide synthase and a peptide synthetase, further supporting its putative role in cylindrospermopsin biosynthesis.