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Journal of bacteriology

Functional analysis of relA and rshA, two relA/spoT homologues of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2).


PMID 11344157

Abstract

Deletion of the (p)ppGpp synthetase gene, relA, of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) results in loss of production of the antibiotics actinorhodin (Act) and undecylprodigiosin (Red) and delayed morphological differentiation when the mutant is grown under conditions of nitrogen limitation. To analyze the role of (p)ppGpp as an intracellular signaling molecule for the initiation of antibiotic production, several C-terminally deleted derivatives of S. coelicolor relA that could potentially function in the absence of ribosome activation were placed under the control of the thiostrepton-inducible tipA promoter. While 0.82- and 1.28-kb N-terminal segments failed to restore (p)ppGpp and antibiotic production upon induction in a relA null mutant, 1.46- and 2.07-kb segments did. Under conditions of phosphate limitation, deletion of relA had little or no effect on Act or Red synthesis, potentially reflecting an alternative mechanism for ppGpp synthesis. A second S. coelicolor RelA homologue (RshA, with 42% identity to S. coelicolor RelA) was identified in the genome sequence. However, deletion of rshA had no effect on the ability of the relA mutant to make Act and Red when grown under conditions of phosphate limitation. While high-level induction of tipAp::rshA in the relA mutant resulted in growth inhibition, low-level induction restored antibiotic production and sporulation. In neither case, nor in the relA mutant that was grown under phosphate limitation and producing Act and Red, could (p)ppGpp synthesis be detected. Thus, a ppGpp-independent mechanism exists to activate antibiotic production under conditions of phosphate limitation that can be mimicked by overexpression of rshA.

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