July 19, 2019  |  

Variable genetic architectures produce virtually identical molecules in bacterial symbionts of fungus-growing ants.

Small molecules produced by Actinobacteria have played a prominent role in both drug discovery and organic chemistry. As part of a larger study of the actinobacterial symbionts of fungus-growing ants, we discovered a small family of three previously unreported piperazic acid-containing cyclic depsipeptides, gerumycins A-C. The gerumycins are slightly smaller versions of dentigerumycin, a cyclic depsipeptide that selectively inhibits a common fungal pathogen, Escovopsis. We had previously identified this molecule from a Pseudonocardia associated with Apterostigma dentigerum, and now we report the molecule from an associate of the more highly derived ant Trachymyrmex cornetzi. The three previously unidentified compounds, gerumycins A-C, have essentially identical structures and were produced by two different symbiotic Pseudonocardia spp. from ants in the genus Apterostigma found in both Panama and Costa Rica. To understand the similarities and differences in the biosynthetic pathways that produced these closely related molecules, the genomes of the three producing Pseudonocardia were sequenced and the biosynthetic gene clusters identified. This analysis revealed that dramatically different biosynthetic architectures, including genomic islands, a plasmid, and the use of spatially separated genetic loci, can lead to molecules with virtually identical core structures. A plausible evolutionary model that unifies these disparate architectures is presented.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genome analysis of the fruiting body forming myxobacterium Chondromyces crocatus reveals high potential for natural product biosynthesis.

Here we report the first complete genome sequence of the type strain of the myxobacterial genus Chondromyces – Chondromyces crocatus Cm c5. It presents one of the largest prokaryotic genomes featuring a single circular chromosome and no plasmids. Analysis revealed an enlarged set of tRNA genes, along with reduced pressure on preferred codon usage compared to other bacterial genomes. The large coding capacity and the plethora of encoded secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters is in line with the capability of Cm c5 to produce an arsenal of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and cytotoxic compounds. Known pathways of the ajudazol, chondramide, chondrochloren, crocacin, crocapeptin and thuggacin compound families are complemented by many more natural compound biosynthetic gene clusters in the chromosome. Whole-genome comparison of the fruiting-body forming type-strain (Cm c5 = DSM 14714) to an accustomed laboratory strain which has lost this ability (Cm c5 fr-) revealed genetic changes in three loci. In addition to the low synteny found with the closest sequenced representative of the same family, Sorangium cellulosum, extensive genetic information duplication, and broad application of eukaryotic-type signal transduction systems are hallmarks of this 11.3 Mbp prokaryotic genome. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Next generation sequencing of Actinobacteria for the discovery of novel natural products.

Like many fields of the biosciences, actinomycete natural products research has been revolutionised by next-generation DNA sequencing (NGS). Hundreds of new genome sequences from actinobacteria are made public every year, many of them as a result of projects aimed at identifying new natural products and their biosynthetic pathways through genome mining. Advances in these technologies in the last five years have meant not only a reduction in the cost of whole genome sequencing, but also a substantial increase in the quality of the data, having moved from obtaining a draft genome sequence comprised of several hundred short contigs, sometimes of doubtful reliability, to the possibility of obtaining an almost complete and accurate chromosome sequence in a single contig, allowing a detailed study of gene clusters and the design of strategies for refactoring and full gene cluster synthesis. The impact that these technologies are having in the discovery and study of natural products from actinobacteria, including those from the marine environment, is only starting to be realised. In this review we provide a historical perspective of the field, analyse the strengths and limitations of the most relevant technologies, and share the insights acquired during our genome mining projects.


July 7, 2019  |  

Nonribosomal peptide synthase gene clusters for lipopeptide biosynthesis in Bacillus subtilis 916 and their phenotypic functions.

Bacillus cyclic lipopeptides (LPs) have been well studied for their phytopathogen-antagonistic activities. Recently, research has shown that these LPs also contribute to the phenotypic features of Bacillus strains, such as hemolytic activity, swarming motility, biofilm formation, and colony morphology. Bacillus subtilis 916 not only coproduces the three families of well-known LPs, i.e., surfactins, bacillomycin Ls (iturin family), and fengycins, but also produces a new family of LP called locillomycins. The genome of B. subtilis 916 contains four nonribosomal peptide synthase (NRPS) gene clusters, srf, bmy, fen, and loc, which are responsible for the biosynthesis of surfactins, bacillomycin Ls, fengycins, and locillomycins, respectively. By studying B. subtilis 916 mutants lacking production of one, two, or three LPs, we attempted to unveil the connections between LPs and phenotypic features. We demonstrated that bacillomycin Ls and fengycins contribute mainly to antifungal activity. Although surfactins have weak antifungal activity in vitro, the strain mutated in srfAA had significantly decreased antifungal activity. This may be due to the impaired productions of fengycins and bacillomycin Ls. We also found that the disruption of any LP gene cluster other than fen resulted in a change in colony morphology. While surfactins and bacillomycin Ls play very important roles in hemolytic activity, swarming motility, and biofilm formation, the fengycins and locillomycins had little influence on these phenotypic features. In conclusion, B. subtilis 916 coproduces four families of LPs which contribute to the phenotypic features of B. subtilis 916 in an intricate way. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Gut symbionts from distinct hosts exhibit genotoxic activity via divergent colibactin biosynthetic pathways.

Secondary metabolites produced by nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) or polyketide synthase (PKS) pathways are chemical mediators of microbial interactions in diverse environments. However, little is known about their distribution, evolution, and functional roles in bacterial symbionts associated with animals. A prominent example is “colibactin”, a largely unknown family of secondary metabolites produced by Escherichia coli via a hybrid NRPS-PKS biosynthetic pathway, inflicting DNA damage upon eukaryotic cells and contributing to colorectal cancer and tumor formation in the mammalian gut. Thus far, homologs of this pathway have only been found in closely related Enterobacteriaceae, while a divergent variant of this gene cluster was recently discovered in a marine alphaproteobacterial Pseudovibrio strain. Herein, we sequenced the genome of Frischella perrara PEB0191, a bacterial gut symbiont of honey bees, and identified a homologous colibactin biosynthetic pathway related to those found in Enterobacteriaceae. We show that the colibactin genomic island (GI) has conserved gene synteny and biosynthetic module architecture across F. perrara, Enterobacteriaceae and the Pseudovibrio strain. Comparative metabolomics analyses of F. perrara and E. coli further reveal that these two bacteria produce related colibactin pathway-dependent metabolites. Finally, we demonstrate that F. perrara, like E. coli, causes DNA damage in eukaryotic cells in vitro in a colibactin pathway-dependent manner. Together, these results support that divergent variants of the colibactin biosynthetic pathway are widely distributed among bacterial symbionts, producing related secondary metabolites and likely endowing its producer with functional capabilities important for diverse symbiotic associations. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Draft genome sequence of Kitasatospora griseola strain MF730-N6, a bafilomycin, terpentecin, and satosporin producer.

We report here the draft genome sequence of Kitasatospora griseola strain MF730-N6, a known producer of bafilomycin, terpentecin, and satosporins. The current assembly comprises 8 contigs covering 7.97 Mb. Genome annotation revealed 7,225 protein coding sequences, 100 tRNAs, 40 rRNA genes, and 23 secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters. Copyright © 2015 Arens et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Active site and laminarin binding in glycoside hydrolase family 55.

The Carbohydrate Active Enzyme (CAZy) database indicates that glycoside hydrolase family 55 (GH55) contains both endo- and exo-ß-1,3-glucanases. The founding structure in the GH55 is PcLam55A from the white rot fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium (Ishida, T., Fushinobu, S., Kawai, R., Kitaoka, M., Igarashi, K., and Samejima, M. (2009) Crystal structure of glycoside hydrolase family 55 ß-1,3-glucanase from the basidiomycete Phanerochaete chrysosporium. J. Biol. Chem. 284, 10100-10109). Here, we present high resolution crystal structures of bacterial SacteLam55A from the highly cellulolytic Streptomyces sp. SirexAA-E with bound substrates and product. These structures, along with mutagenesis and kinetic studies, implicate Glu-502 as the catalytic acid (as proposed earlier for Glu-663 in PcLam55A) and a proton relay network of four residues in activating water as the nucleophile. Further, a set of conserved aromatic residues that define the active site apparently enforce an exo-glucanase reactivity as demonstrated by exhaustive hydrolysis reactions with purified laminarioligosaccharides. Two additional aromatic residues that line the substrate-binding channel show substrate-dependent conformational flexibility that may promote processive reactivity of the bound oligosaccharide in the bacterial enzymes. Gene synthesis carried out on ~30% of the GH55 family gave 34 active enzymes (19% functional coverage of the nonredundant members of GH55). These active enzymes reacted with only laminarin from a panel of 10 different soluble and insoluble polysaccharides and displayed a broad range of specific activities and optima for pH and temperature. Application of this experimental method provides a new, systematic way to annotate glycoside hydrolase phylogenetic space for functional properties.© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Rhodococcus sp. B7740, a carotenoid-producing bacterium isolated from the Arctic Sea.

Rhodococcus sp. B7740 was isolated from Arctic seawater and selected for its capacity to synthesize carotenoids. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of Rhodococcus sp. B7740 to provide the genetic basis for a better understanding of its carotenoid-accumulating capabilities, and we describe the major features of the genome. Copyright © 2015 Zhang et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

High-quality draft genome sequence of actinobacterium Kibdelosporangium sp. MJ126-NF4, producer of type II polyketide azicemicins, using Illumina and PacBio Technologies.

Here, we report the high-quality draft genome sequence of actinobacterium Kibdelosporangium sp. MJ126-NF4, producer of the type II polyketide azicemicins, obtained using Illumina and PacBio sequencing technologies. The 11.75-Mbp genome contains >11,000 genes and 22 polyketide and nonribosomal peptide natural product gene clusters. Copyright © 2015 Ogasawara et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Draft genome sequence of Streptacidiphilus oryzae TH49T, an acidophilic actinobacterium isolated from soil.

The draft genome sequence of Streptacidiphilus oryzae strain TH49(T), an acidophilic actinobacterium, was obtained. The draft is composed of six scaffolds totaling 7.8 Mbp, and it contains 6,829 protein-coding genes and 91 RNA genes. Genes related to respiratory nitrate reduction, siderophore production, and biosynthesis of other secondary metabolites were identified. Copyright © 2015 Kim et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

The Streptomyces leeuwenhoekii genome: de novo sequencing and assembly in single contigs of the chromosome, circular plasmid pSLE1 and linear plasmid pSLE2.

Next Generation DNA Sequencing (NGS) and genome mining of actinomycetes and other microorganisms is currently one of the most promising strategies for the discovery of novel bioactive natural products, potentially revealing novel chemistry and enzymology involved in their biosynthesis. This approach also allows rapid insights into the biosynthetic potential of microorganisms isolated from unexploited habitats and ecosystems, which in many cases may prove difficult to culture and manipulate in the laboratory. Streptomyces leeuwenhoekii (formerly Streptomyces sp. strain C34) was isolated from the hyper-arid high-altitude Atacama Desert in Chile and shown to produce novel polyketide antibiotics.Here we present the de novo sequencing of the S. leeuwenhoekii linear chromosome (8 Mb) and two extrachromosomal replicons, the circular pSLE1 (86 kb) and the linear pSLE2 (132 kb), all in single contigs, obtained by combining Pacific Biosciences SMRT (PacBio) and Illumina MiSeq technologies. We identified the biosynthetic gene clusters for chaxamycin, chaxalactin, hygromycin A and desferrioxamine E, metabolites all previously shown to be produced by this strain (J Nat Prod, 2011, 74:1965) and an additional 31 putative gene clusters for specialised metabolites. As well as gene clusters for polyketides and non-ribosomal peptides, we also identified three gene clusters encoding novel lasso-peptides.The S. leeuwenhoekii genome contains 35 gene clusters apparently encoding the biosynthesis of specialised metabolites, most of them completely novel and uncharacterised. This project has served to evaluate the current state of NGS for efficient and effective genome mining of high GC actinomycetes. The PacBio technology now permits the assembly of actinomycete replicons into single contigs with >99 % accuracy. The assembled Illumina sequence permitted not only the correction of omissions found in GC homopolymers in the PacBio assembly (exacerbated by the high GC content of actinomycete DNA) but it also allowed us to obtain the sequences of the termini of the chromosome and of a linear plasmid that were not assembled by PacBio. We propose an experimental pipeline that uses the Illumina assembled contigs, in addition to just the reads, to complement the current limitations of the PacBio sequencing technology and assembly software.


July 7, 2019  |  

Discovery of microbial natural products by activation of silent biosynthetic gene clusters.

Microorganisms produce a wealth of structurally diverse specialized metabolites with a remarkable range of biological activities and a wide variety of applications in medicine and agriculture, such as the treatment of infectious diseases and cancer, and the prevention of crop damage. Genomics has revealed that many microorganisms have far greater potential to produce specialized metabolites than was thought from classic bioactivity screens; however, realizing this potential has been hampered by the fact that many specialized metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) are not expressed in laboratory cultures. In this Review, we discuss the strategies that have been developed in bacteria and fungi to identify and induce the expression of such silent BGCs, and we briefly summarize methods for the isolation and structural characterization of their metabolic products.


July 7, 2019  |  

Identification and heterologous expression of the chaxamycin biosynthetic gene cluster from Streptomyces leeuwenhoekii.

Streptomyces leeuwenhoekii, isolated from the hyperarid Atacama Desert, produces the new ansamycin-like compounds chaxamycins A to D, which possess potent antibacterial activity and moderate antiproliferative activity. We report the development of genetic tools to manipulate S. leeuwenhoekii and the identification and partial characterization of the 80.2-kb chaxamycin biosynthesis gene cluster, which was achieved by both mutational analysis in the natural producer and heterologous expression in Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) strain M1152. Restoration of chaxamycin production in a nonproducing ?cxmK mutant (cxmK encodes 3-amino-5-hydroxybenzoic acid [AHBA] synthase) was achieved by supplementing the growth medium with AHBA, suggesting that mutasynthesis may be a viable approach for the generation of novel chaxamycin derivatives. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Identification and structural characterization of naturally-occurring broad-spectrum cyclic antibiotics isolated from Paenibacillus.

The rise of antimicrobial resistance necessitates the discovery and/or production of novel antibiotics. Isolated strains of Paenibacillus alvei were previously shown to exhibit antimicrobial activity against a number of pathogens, such as E. coli, Salmonella, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The responsible antimicrobial compounds were isolated from these Paenibacillus strains and a combination of low and high resolution mass spectrometry with multiple-stage tandem mass spectrometry was used for identification. A group of closely related cyclic lipopeptides was identified, differing primarily by fatty acid chain length and one of two possible amino acid substitutions. Variation in the fatty acid length resulted in mass differences of 14 Da and yielded groups of related MS(n) spectra. Despite the inherent complexity of MS/MS spectra of cyclic compounds, straightforward analysis of these spectra was accomplished by determining differences in complementary product ion series between compounds that differ in molecular weight by 14 Da. The primary peptide sequence assignment was confirmed through genome mining; the combination of these analytical tools represents a workflow that can be used for the identification of complex antibiotics. The compounds also share amino acid sequence similarity to a previously identified broad-spectrum antibiotic isolated from Paenibacillus. The presence of such a wide distribution of related compounds produced by the same organism represents a novel class of broad-spectrum antibiotic compounds.


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