Cold adaptation in drylands: transcriptomic insights into cold-stressed Nostoc flagelliforme and characterization of a hypothetical gene with cold and nitrogen stress tolerance
Journal article, 2021

Environmental stressors, especially low temperature, are very common on the earth's dryland systems. Terrestrial cyanobacteria have evolved with cold adaptability in addition to extreme dryness and high irradiation resistance. The dryland soil surface-dwelling species, Nostoc flagelliforme, serves as a potential model organism to gain insights into cyanobacterial cold adaptation. In this study, we performed transcriptomic analysis of N. flagelliforme samples in response to low temperature. The results revealed that the biological processes, such as terpenoid biosynthetic process, oxidoreductase activity, carbohydrate metabolism, biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, lipid and nitrogen metabolism, were significantly and dynamically changed during the cold stress. It was noteworthy that the transcription of the denitrification pathway for ammonia accumulation was enhanced, implying an importance for nitrogen utilization in stress resistance. In addition, characterization of a cold-responsive hypothetical gene csrnf1 found that it could greatly improve the cold-resistant performance of cells when it was heterologously expressed in transgenic Nostoc sp. PCC 7120. It was also found that csrnf1 transgenic strain exhibited resistance to nitrogen-deficient environmental stress. Considering that dryland cyanobacteria have to cope with low temperature on infertile soils, this study would enrich our understanding on the importance of multifunction of the genes for environmental cold adaptation in drylands.


Xiang Gao

Shaanxi University of Technology

Huazhong Normal University

Zhaoxia Zhu

Huazhong Normal University

Haiyan Xu

Huazhong Normal University

Litao Liu

Huazhong Normal University

Jing An

Shaanxi University of Technology

Boyang Ji

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Shuifeng Ye

Shangrao Normal University

Shanghai Agrobiological Gene Center

Environmental Microbiology

1462-2912 (ISSN) 1462-2920 (eISSN)

Vol. 23 2 713-727

Subject Categories


Soil Science




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