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      Regulation of Antibiotic Production by Signaling Molecules in Streptomyces

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          The genus Streptomyces is a unique subgroup of actinomycetes bacteria that are well-known as prolific producers of antibiotics and many other bioactive secondary metabolites. Various environmental and physiological signals affect the onset and level of production of each antibiotic. Here we highlight recent findings on the regulation of antibiotic biosynthesis in Streptomyces by signaling molecules, with special focus on autoregulators such as hormone-like signaling molecules and antibiotics themselves. Hormone-like signaling molecules are a group of small diffusible signaling molecules that interact with specific receptor proteins to initiate complex regulatory cascades of antibiotic biosynthesis. Antibiotics and their biosynthetic intermediates can also serve as autoregulators to fine-tune their own biosynthesis or cross-regulators of disparate biosynthetic pathways. Advances in understanding of signaling molecules-mediated regulation of antibiotic production in Streptomyces may aid the discovery of new signaling molecules and their use in eliciting silent antibiotic biosynthetic pathways in a wide range of actinomycetes.

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          Most cited references 73

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          Genomic basis for natural product biosynthetic diversity in the actinomycetes.

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            Molecular regulation of antibiotic biosynthesis in streptomyces.

            Streptomycetes are the most abundant source of antibiotics. Typically, each species produces several antibiotics, with the profile being species specific. Streptomyces coelicolor, the model species, produces at least five different antibiotics. We review the regulation of antibiotic biosynthesis in S. coelicolor and other, nonmodel streptomycetes in the light of recent studies. The biosynthesis of each antibiotic is specified by a large gene cluster, usually including regulatory genes (cluster-situated regulators [CSRs]). These are the main point of connection with a plethora of generally conserved regulatory systems that monitor the organism's physiology, developmental state, population density, and environment to determine the onset and level of production of each antibiotic. Some CSRs may also be sensitive to the levels of different kinds of ligands, including products of the pathway itself, products of other antibiotic pathways in the same organism, and specialized regulatory small molecules such as gamma-butyrolactones. These interactions can result in self-reinforcing feed-forward circuitry and complex cross talk between pathways. The physiological signals and regulatory mechanisms may be of practical importance for the activation of the many cryptic secondary metabolic gene cluster pathways revealed by recent sequencing of numerous Streptomyces genomes.
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              High-throughput platform for the discovery of elicitors of silent bacterial gene clusters.

              Over the past decade, bacterial genome sequences have revealed an immense reservoir of biosynthetic gene clusters, sets of contiguous genes that have the potential to produce drugs or drug-like molecules. However, the majority of these gene clusters appear to be inactive for unknown reasons prompting terms such as "cryptic" or "silent" to describe them. Because natural products have been a major source of therapeutic molecules, methods that rationally activate these silent clusters would have a profound impact on drug discovery. Herein, a new strategy is outlined for awakening silent gene clusters using small molecule elicitors. In this method, a genetic reporter construct affords a facile read-out for activation of the silent cluster of interest, while high-throughput screening of small molecule libraries provides potential inducers. This approach was applied to two cryptic gene clusters in the pathogenic model Burkholderia thailandensis. The results not only demonstrate a prominent activation of these two clusters, but also reveal that the majority of elicitors are themselves antibiotics, most in common clinical use. Antibiotics, which kill B. thailandensis at high concentrations, act as inducers of secondary metabolism at low concentrations. One of these antibiotics, trimethoprim, served as a global activator of secondary metabolism by inducing at least five biosynthetic pathways. Further application of this strategy promises to uncover the regulatory networks that activate silent gene clusters while at the same time providing access to the vast array of cryptic molecules found in bacteria.

                Author and article information

                Front Microbiol
                Front Microbiol
                Front. Microbiol.
                Frontiers in Microbiology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                19 December 2019
                : 10
                1Biotechnology Research Center, Southwest University , Chongqing, China
                2State Cultivation Base of Crop Stress Biology for Southern Mountainous Land, Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Southwest University , Chongqing, China
                3College of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Southwest University , Chongqing, China
                Author notes

                Edited by: Yinhua Lu, Shanghai Normal University, China

                Reviewed by: Matthew Ian Hutchings, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom; Weishan Wang, Institute of Microbiology (CAS), China

                *Correspondence: Guoqing Niu, niu062376@

                This article was submitted to Antimicrobials, Resistance and Chemotherapy, a section of the journal Frontiers in Microbiology

                Copyright © 2019 Kong, Wang, Nie and Niu.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 78, Pages: 11, Words: 0


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