In the present investigation we show that the cyanobacterium Anabaena variabilis PCC 7937 produces a single mycosporine-like amino acid (MAA), shinorine (retention time = 2.3 min and absorption maximum at 334 nm) when isolated and purified by HPLC. Although there was significant induction of MAA synthesis from its initial value under 395 or 320 nm cutoff filters, MAA induction was significantly more pronounced in samples covered with 295 nm cutoff filters after 72 h of exposure. Heat as a stress factor had no effect on MAA induction with or without UV radiation. In contrast, salt and ammonium treatment had synergistic effects with UV stress. MAA synthesis was also induced by salt and ammonium in a concentration-dependent manner without UV stress in samples covered with 395 nm cutoff filters. The results indicate that MAAs may have other functions in addition to photoprotection in this organism.