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1.  Lasiodiplodia sp. ME4-2, an endophytic fungus from the floral parts of Viscum coloratum, produces indole-3-carboxylic acid and other aromatic metabolites 
BMC Microbiology  2014;14(1):297.
Studies on endophytes, a relatively under-explored group of microorganisms, are currently popular amongst biologists and natural product researchers. A fungal strain (ME4-2) was isolated from flower samples of mistletoe (Viscum coloratum) during a screening program for endophytes. As limited information on floral endophytes is available, the aim of the present study is to characterise fungal endophytes using their secondary metabolites.
ME4-2 grew well in both natural and basic synthetic media but produced no conidia. Sequence analysis of its internal transcribed spacer rDNA demonstrated that ME4-2 forms a distinct branch within the genus Lasiodiplodia and is closely related to L. pseudotheobromae. This floral endophyte was thus identified as Lasiodiplodia sp. based on its molecular biological characteristics. Five aromatic compounds, including cyclo-(Trp-Ala), indole-3-carboxylic acid (ICA), indole-3-carbaldehyde, mellein and 2-phenylethanol, were found in the culture. The structures of these compounds were determined using spectroscopic methods combined with gas chromatography. To the best of our knowledge, our work is the first to report isolation of these aromatic metabolites from a floral endophyte. Interestingly, ICA, a major secondary metabolite produced by ME4-2, seemed to be biosynthesized via an unusual pathway. Furthermore, our results indicate that the fungus ME4-2 is a potent producer of 2-phenylethanol, which is a common component of floral essential oils.
This study introduces a fungal strain producing several important aromatic metabolites with pharmaceutical or food applications and suggests that endophytic fungi isolated from plant flowers are promising natural sources of aromatic compounds.
PMCID: PMC4255639  PMID: 25433389
Lasiodiplodia sp; Floral endophytes; Mistletoe; Aromatic compounds
2.  Identification and functional analysis of gene cluster involvement in biosynthesis of the cyclic lipopeptide antibiotic pelgipeptin produced by Paenibacillus elgii 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:197.
Pelgipeptin, a potent antibacterial and antifungal agent, is a non-ribosomally synthesised lipopeptide antibiotic. This compound consists of a β-hydroxy fatty acid and nine amino acids. To date, there is no information about its biosynthetic pathway.
A potential pelgipeptin synthetase gene cluster (plp) was identified from Paenibacillus elgii B69 through genome analysis. The gene cluster spans 40.8 kb with eight open reading frames. Among the genes in this cluster, three large genes, plpD, plpE, and plpF, were shown to encode non-ribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs), with one, seven, and one module(s), respectively. Bioinformatic analysis of the substrate specificity of all nine adenylation domains indicated that the sequence of the NRPS modules is well collinear with the order of amino acids in pelgipeptin. Additional biochemical analysis of four recombinant adenylation domains (PlpD A1, PlpE A1, PlpE A3, and PlpF A1) provided further evidence that the plp gene cluster involved in pelgipeptin biosynthesis.
In this study, a gene cluster (plp) responsible for the biosynthesis of pelgipeptin was identified from the genome sequence of Paenibacillus elgii B69. The identification of the plp gene cluster provides an opportunity to develop novel lipopeptide antibiotics by genetic engineering.
PMCID: PMC3479019  PMID: 22958453
Non-ribosomal peptide; Biosynthesis; Gene cluster; Antimicrobial agent
3.  Battacin (Octapeptin B5), a New Cyclic Lipopeptide Antibiotic from Paenibacillus tianmuensis Active against Multidrug-Resistant Gram-Negative Bacteria 
Hospital-acquired infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria are a significant challenge to patient safety. Numerous clinical isolates resistant to almost all commercially available antibiotics have emerged. Thus, novel antimicrobial agents, specifically those for multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria, are urgently needed. In the current study, we report the isolation, structure elucidation, and preliminary biological characterization of a new cationic lipopeptide antibiotic, battacin or octapeptin B5, produced from a Paenibacillus tianmuensis soil isolate. Battacin kills bacteria in vitro and has potent activity against Gram-negative bacteria, including multidrug-resistant and extremely drug-resistant clinical isolates. Hospital strains of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are the pathogens most sensitive to battacin, with MICs of 2 to 4 μg/ml. The ability of battacin to disrupt the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria is comparable to that of polymyxin B, the last-line therapy for infections caused by antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria. However, the capacity of battacin to permeate bacterial plasma membranes is less extensive than that of polymyxin B. The bactericidal kinetics of battacin correlate with the depolarization of the cell membrane, suggesting that battacin kills bacteria by disrupting the cytoplasmic membrane. Other studies indicate that battacin is less acutely toxic than polymyxin B and has potent in vivo biological activity against E. coli. Based on the findings of the current study, battacin may be considered a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria.
PMCID: PMC3294921  PMID: 22183171
4.  Paenimacrolidin, a novel macrolide antibiotic from Paenibacillus sp. F6‐B70 active against methicillin‐resistant Staphylococcus aureus 
Microbial biotechnology  2011;4(4):491-502.
Paenibacillus sp. F6‐B70 was selected from several dozens of isolates with activity against methicillin‐resistant Staphylococcus aureus using a 16S rDNA‐based screening method. F6‐B70 contained polyketide synthase (PKS) and non‐ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) clusters in its genome revealed by PCR amplification of conserved adenylation and ketosynthase (KS) domains. Phylogenetic data suggested that the strain hosts trans‐AT PKSs and their product may be a branched molecule. An antibiotic was subsequently isolated from the methanol extract of F6‐B70 cells. The molecular formula of the antibiotic was deduced to be C33H50NaO6 ([M + Na]+, m/z 565.3505) by analysis of electrospray ionization mass spectral data. Elucidation of the structure by nuclear magnetic resonance and infrared spectroscopy revealed that the active compound, paenimacrolidin (PAM), was a novel 22‐membered macrolide with side‐chains. The new antibiotic, mainly as a bacteriostatic agent, inhibits a couple of multidrug‐resistant Staphylococcus sp. strains. The antibiotic capacity of PAM was compromised by its instability, which can be overcome significantly with addition of an anti‐oxidant. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the isolation of an active macrolide from paenibacilli, which may be a promising source of novel antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC3815261  PMID: 21375709

Results 1-4 (4)