Comprehensive Analysis of the Metabolism of Nitrogen-deficient Cyanobacteria that Resolves a Metabolic Contradiction

July 8, 2013

Uncovering the unique distribution of carbon metabolites and energy sources during nitrogen starvation

Metabolic Systems Research group at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science has clarified the metabolic change in cyanobacteria during nitrogen starvation. The results indicates that cyanobacteria stores carbon sources in various metabolites after nitrogen depletions in order to survive the nutrient-starved conditions.

Metabolome analysis, using model cyanobacterium Synechocystis iand capillary electrophoresis–mass spectrometry, revealed tthe significant increases not only in glycogen but also in other carbon compounds such as malic acid and succinic acid. Researchers also found that most metabolites in purine metabolism decreased after nitrogen depletion. It was also uncovered that the levels of all 19 amino amids measured were altered during nitrogen starvation.

Cyanobacteria can produce valuable products such as chemical feedstocks , and thus, these findings should contribute to a deeper understanding of carbon metabolism in response to changes in external conditions and future application for bioenergy and biomaterial production.

Original article
Environmental Microbiology doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.12170
T. Osanai, A. Oikawa, T. Shirai, A. Kuwahara, H. Iijima, K. Tanaka, M. Ikeuchi, A. Kondo, K. Saito, MY. Hirai,
"Capillary Electrophoresis-Mass Spectrometry Reveals the Distribution of Carbon Metabolites during Nitrogen Starvation in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803".
Masami Hirai: Team Leader
Takashi Osanai: Visiting Scientist
Metabolic Systems Research Team, Metabolomics Research Group