Surface acclimation of cyanobacteria

Many bacteria exhibit planktonic as well as sessile lifestyles. In this project, we investigate the acclimation of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 to a surface.

Upon surface contact, but also in response to light, cells change the amount of second messenger molecules. In addition, several mRNAs change their level of expression in response to surface attachment.

Further, we take a closer look at type IV pili which are very important cell appendages of Synechocystis [1]. Movement of Synechocystis is achieved by elongation and retraction of type IV pili, which is called ‘twitching motility’. The type IV pilus fiber is mainly composed of a protein called major pilin PilA1. Besides this major pilin protein, the Synechocystis genome encodes at least 10 potential minor pilins with so far unknown functions. We are investigating the role of these minor pilin proteins and their impact on surface acclimation.

Figure 1: Acclimation of Synechocystis to surface. Upper picture: Graphical scheme of the type IV pilus apparatus. Lower picture: Electron microscopy picture, negative stain with uranyl acetate (in cooperation with Lenka Bučinská and Roman Sobotka (Centre Algatech, Institute of Microbiology, CAS; Trebon)).


  • SPP 1879: A light-triggered behavioural switch in cyanobacterial motility

Key Publications:

Conradi FD, Zhou RQ, Oeser S, Schuergers N, Wilde A, Mullineaux CW. (2019) Factors

controlling floc formation and structure in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp.

PCC 6803. J Bacteriol. doi: 10.1128/JB.00344-19.

Angerer V, Schwenk P, Wallner T, Kaever V, Hiltbrunner A, Wilde A. (2017) The protein Slr1143 is an active diguanylate cyclase in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 and interacts with the photoreceptor Cph2. Microbiology 163, 920-930.

Savakis P, De Causmaecker S, Angerer V, Ruppert U, Anders K, Essen LO, Wilde A. (2012) Light-induced alteration of c-di-GMP level controls motility of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Mol. Microbiol. 85, 239-251.

Wilde, A., Fiedler, B., Börner, T. (2002) The cyanobacterial phytochrome Cph2 inhibits phototaxis towards blue light. Mol. Microbiol. 44, 981-988.