The cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 accumulates the compatible solute glucosylglycerol (GG) and sucrose under salt stress. Although the molecular mechanisms for GG synthesis including regulation of the GG-phosphate synthase (ggpS) gene, which encodes GgpS, has been intensively investigated, the role of GG in protection against salt stress remains poorly understood. In our study of the role of GG in the tolerance to salt stress, we found that salt stress due to 450 mM NaCl inhibited cell division and significantly increased cell size in ΔggpS mutant cells, whereas the inhibition of cell division and increase in cell size were observed in wild-type cells at high concentrations of NaCl, such as 800 mM. Electron microscopy revealed that, in ΔggpS cells, separation of daughter cells was incomplete, and aborted division could be recognized by the presence of a structure that resembled a division ring. The addition of GG to the culture medium protected ΔggpS cells against salt stress and reversed the adverse effects of NaCl on cell division and cell size. These observations suggest that GG is important for salt tolerance and thus for the proper division of cells under salt stress conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science