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Comparative proteomics between natural Microcystis isolates with a focus on microcystin synthesis

Ângela Tonietto1, Bernardo A Petriz1, Wérika C Araújo1, Ângela Mehta2, Beatriz S Magalhães1 and Octávio L Franco13*

Author Affiliations

1 Centro de Análises Proteômicas e Bioquímicas, Universidade Católica de Brasília, Pós Graduação em Ciências Genômicas e Biotecnologia, SGAN 916 Norte Av. W5, Brasília, DF, Brazil

2 Embrapa Recursos Genéticos e Biotecnologia, Brasília, DF, Brazil

3 Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora, MG, Brazil

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Proteome Science 2012, 10:38  doi:10.1186/1477-5956-10-38

Published: 7 June 2012



Microcystis aeruginosa is a species of cyanobacteria commonly found in a number of countries and frequently related to animal poisoning episodes due to its capacity to produce the cyanotoxin known as microcystin. Despite vast literature on microcystin structures and their deleterious effects, little is known about its synthesis by cyanobacteria. Therefore, this study used proteomic tools to compare two M. aeruginosa strains, contrasting them for microcystin production.


2-DE gels were performed and 30 differential protein spots were chosen. Among them, 11 protein spots were unique in the toxin producing strain and 8 in the non-toxin producing strain, and 14 protein spots were shown on both 2-DE gels but expressed differently in intensity. Around 57% of the tandem mass spectrometry identified proteins were related to energy metabolism, with these proteins being up-regulated in the toxin producing strain.


These data suggest that the presence of higher quantities of metabolic enzymes could be related to microcystin metabolism in comparison to the non-toxin producing strain. Moreover, it was suggested that the production of microcystin could also be related to other proteins than those directly involved in its production, such as the enzymes involved in the Calvin cycle and glycolysis.

Cyanobacteria; Microcystis aeruginosa; Cyanotoxin; Proteome