afsR is a pleiotropic but conditionally required regulatory gene for antibiotic production in Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2)

Authors


Mervyn Bibb E-mail mervyn.bibb@bbsrc.ac.uk; Tel. (01603) 452571; Fax (01603) 456844.

Abstract

The N-terminal region of AfsR, a putative pleiotropic regulatory protein for antibiotic production in Strepto-myces coelicolor A3(2), is homologous to RedD and ActII-ORF4, pathway-specific regulatory proteins required for the production of the antibiotics undecylprodigiosin (Red) and actinorhodin (Act), respectively. The recent identification of afsS, which lies immediately 3′ of afsR and which stimulates antibiotic production when cloned at high copy number, questioned whether afsR was a pleiotropic regulatory gene. In this study we demonstrate that multiple copies of afsR can stimulate both Act and Red production and that, despite its homology, it cannot substitute for the pathway-specific regulatory genes. Moreover, an in-frame deletion that removed most of the afsR coding sequence resulted in loss of Act and Red production, and a marked reduction in the synthesis of the calcium-dependent antibiotic (CDA), but only under some (non-permissive) nutritional conditions. Although additional copies of afsR resulted in elevated levels of the actII-ORF4 and redD transcripts, transcription of the pathway-specific regulatory genes under non-permissive conditions was unaffected by deletion of afsR. While afsR may operate independently of the pathway-specific regulatory proteins to influence antibiotic production, the activity of ActII-ORF4 and of RedD under non-permissive conditions could depend on interaction with, or modification by, AfsR.

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