A developmentally regulated gene encoding a repressor-like protein is essential for sporulation in Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2)


Keith F. Chater E-mail chater@bbsrc.ac.uk; Tel. 44 1603 452571; Fax 44 1603 456844.


whiH is one of several known loci specifically needed for the orderly multiple sporulation septation of aerial hyphae of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) and for the expression of at least some late sporulation genes. DNA complementing whiH mutants was located immediately upstream of hrdB, which encodes the principal σ factor of S. coelicolor. Sequencing revealed a gene whose disruption gave rise to a typical whiH mutant phenotype. Four whiH mutants contained base changes or a frameshift in this gene. The deduced product of whiH is related to a large family of bacterial regulatory proteins, the most similar being several repressors (such as GntR of Bacillus subtilis) responsive to carboxylate-containing intermediates in carbon metabolism. Transcription of whiH was initiated at a single promoter, PwhiH. Levels of whiH mRNA were developmentally regulated, increasing sharply when aerial mycelium was present, and reaching a maximum approximately when spores were first detectable. Transcript levels were markedly increased in a whiH mutant, indicating the possible involvement of WhiH in negative regulation of its own production. PwhiH was directly dependent on the σ factor encoded by another sporulation gene, whiG, as shown by in vivo and in vitro transcription analysis.