A Blue Light-inducible Phosphodiesterase Activity in the Cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus


Corresponding author email: gaertner@mpi-muelheim.mpg.de (Wolfgang Gärtner)


A blue light-inducible phosphodiesterase (PDE) activity, specific for the hydrolysis of cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP), has been identified in a recombinant protein from Synechococcus elongatus. Blue light (BL) activation is accomplished by a light, oxygen, voltage (LOV) domain, found in plant phototropins and bacterial BL photoreceptors. The genome of S. elongatus contains two genes coding for proteins with LOV domains fused to EAL domains (SL1 and SL2). In both cases, a GGDEF motif is placed in between the LOV and the EAL motifs. Such arrangement is frequently found with diguanylate-cyclase (DGC) functions that form c-di-GMP. Cyclic di-GMP acts as a second messenger molecule regulating biofilm formation in many microbial species. Both enzyme activities modulate the intracellular level of this second messenger, although in most proteins only one of the two enzyme functions is active. Both S. elongatus LOV-GGDEF-EAL proteins were expressed in full length or as truncated proteins. Only the SL2 protein, expressed as a LOV-GGDEF-EAL construct, showed an increase of PDE activity upon BL irradiation, demonstrating this activity for the first time in a LOV-domain protein. Addition of GTP or c-di-GMP did not affect the observed enzymatic activity. In none of the full-length or truncated proteins was a DGC activity detected.