Phylum-specific regulation of resistomycin production in a streptomyces sp. via microbial coculture

Skylar Carlson, Urszula Tanouye, Sesselja Omarsdottir, Brian T. Murphy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Actinomycete genomes are encoded with immense potential to produce secondary metabolites, however standard laboratory culture experiments rarely provide the conditions under which associated biosynthetic pathways are expressed. Despite years of research attempting to access these pathways and aside from a few well-studied bacterial quorum sensing systems, little is known about the specificity of secondary metabolite regulation in bacteria, such as the conditions under which a bacterium produces an antibiotic and the extent to which it does so in recognition of a particular species in the immediate environment. In the current study, we observed that the cocultivation of a Streptomyces sp. (strain B033) with four pathogenic strains of the phylum Proteobacteria resulted in the production of the antibiotic resistomycin. After further coculture experiments, we determined that Proteobacteria induced the production of resistomycin in B033 at significantly higher rates (65%) than strains from the phyla Firmicutes (5.9%) and Actinobacteria (9.1%), supporting that the regulation of secondary metabolism in bacteria can be dependent on the species present in the immediate environment. These results suggest a lack of promiscuity of antibiotic biosynthetic pathway regulation and indicate that it is feasible to mine existing microbial strain libraries for antibiotics in a phylum-specific manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-387
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Natural Products
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2015

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© 2014 The American Chemical Society and American Society of Pharmacognosy.


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