Gas vesicles of cyanobacteria are formed by a protein called ‘gas-vesicle protein’ (GVP). The complete amino acid sequence has been determined of GVP from Anabaena flos-aquae. It is 70 residues long and has an Mr of 7388. This corresponds to the size of the repeating unit cell demonstrated by X-ray crystallography of intact gas vesicles. Details of the sequence are related to the secondary beta-sheet structure of the protein and its contrasting hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfaces. Extensive amino acid sequences have also been determined for GVPs from two other cyanobacteria, species of Calothrix and Microcystis; they are highly homologous with that of Anabaena GVP. Electrophoretic analysis indicates that GVPs of different cyanobacteria form a variety of stable oligomers.

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