Actinobacteria of the genus Nocardia usually live in soil or water and play saprophytic roles, but they also opportunistically infect the respiratory system, skin, and other organs of humans and animals. Primarily because of the clinical importance of the strains, some Nocardia genomes have been sequenced, and genome sequences have accumulated. Genome sizes of Nocardia strains are similar to those of Streptomyces strains, the producers of most antibiotics. In the present work, we compared secondary metabolite biosynthesis gene clusters of type-I polyketide synthase (PKS-I) and nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) among genomes of representative Nocardia species/strains based on domain organization and amino acid sequence homology.
Draft genome sequences of Nocardia asteroides NBRC 15531T, Nocardia otitidiscaviarum IFM 11049, Nocardia brasiliensis NBRC 14402T, and N. brasiliensis IFM 10847 were read and compared with published complete genome sequences of Nocardia farcinica IFM 10152, Nocardia cyriacigeorgica GUH-2, and N. brasiliensis HUJEG-1. Genome sizes are as follows: N. farcinica, 6.0 Mb; N. cyriacigeorgica, 6.2 Mb; N. asteroides, 7.0 Mb; N. otitidiscaviarum, 7.8 Mb; and N. brasiliensis, 8.9 - 9.4 Mb. Predicted numbers of PKS-I, NRPS, and PKS-I/NRPS hybrid clusters ranged between 4–11, 7–13, and 1–6, respectively, depending on strains, and tended to increase with increasing genome size. Domain and module structures of representative or unique clusters are discussed in the text.
We conclude the following: 1) genomes of Nocardia strains carry as many PKS-I and NRPS gene clusters as those of Streptomyces strains, 2) the number of PKS-I and NRPS gene clusters in Nocardia strains varies substantially depending on species, and N. brasiliensis strains carry the largest numbers of clusters among the species studied, 3) the seven Nocardia strains studied in the present work have seven common PKS-I and/or NRPS clusters, some of whose products are yet to be studied, and 4) different N. brasiliensis strains have some different gene clusters of PKS-I/NRPS, although the rest of the clusters are common within the N. brasiliensis strains. Genome sequencing suggested that Nocardia strains are highly promising resources in the search of novel secondary metabolites.
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