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1.  Inorganic phosphate is a trigger factor for Microbispora sp. ATCC-PTA-5024 growth and NAI-107 production 
Microbial Cell Factories  2014;13(1):133.
NAI-107, produced by the actinomycete Microbispora sp. ATCC-PTA-5024, is a promising lantibiotic active against Gram-positive bacteria and currently in late preclinical-phase. Lantibiotics (lanthionine-containing antibiotics) are ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs), encoded by structural genes as precursor peptides.
The biosynthesis of biologically active compounds is developmentally controlled and it depends upon a variety of environmental stimuli and conditions. Inorganic phosphate (Pi) usually negatively regulates biologically-active molecule production in Actinomycetes, while it has been reported to have a positive control on lantibiotic production in Firmicutes strains. So far, no information is available concerning the Pi effect on lantibiotic biosynthesis in Actinomycetes.
After having developed a suitable defined medium, Pi-limiting conditions were established and confirmed by quantitative analysis of polyphosphate accumulation and of expression of selected Pho regulon genes, involved in the Pi-limitation stress response. Then, the effect of Pi on Microbispora growth and NAI-107 biosynthesis was investigated in a defined medium containing increasing Pi amounts. Altogether, our analyses revealed that phosphate is necessary for growth and positively influences both growth and NAI-107 production up to a concentration of 5 mM. Higher Pi concentrations were not found to further stimulate Microbispora growth and NAI-107 production.
These results, on one hand, enlarge the knowledge on Microbispora physiology, and, on the other one, could be helpful to develop a robust and economically feasible production process of NAI-107 as a drug for human use.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12934-014-0133-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4203916  PMID: 25300322
Ribosomal Post-translationally modified Peptides (RiPPs); Phosphate; PhoP-PhoR; Polyphosphate
2.  Adaptative biochemical pathways and regulatory networks in Klebsiella oxytoca BAS-10 producing a biotechnologically relevant exopolysaccharide during Fe(III)-citrate fermentation 
A bacterial strain previously isolated from pyrite mine drainage and named BAS-10 was tentatively identified as Klebsiella oxytoca. Unlikely other enterobacteria, BAS-10 is able to grow on Fe(III)-citrate as sole carbon and energy source, yielding acetic acid and CO2 coupled with Fe(III) reduction to Fe(II) and showing unusual physiological characteristics. In fact, under this growth condition, BAS-10 produces an exopolysaccharide (EPS) having a high rhamnose content and metal-binding properties, whose biotechnological applications were proven as very relevant.
Further phylogenetic analysis, based on 16S rDNA sequence, definitively confirmed that BAS-10 belongs to K. oxytoca species. In order to rationalize the biochemical peculiarities of this unusual enterobacteriun, combined 2D-Differential Gel Electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) analysis and mass spectrometry procedures were used to investigate its proteomic changes: i) under aerobic or anaerobic cultivation with Fe(III)-citrate as sole carbon source; ii) under anaerobic cultivations using Na(I)-citrate or Fe(III)-citrate as sole carbon source. Combining data from these differential studies peculiar levels of outer membrane proteins, key regulatory factors of carbon and nitrogen metabolism and enzymes involved in TCA cycle and sugar biosynthesis or required for citrate fermentation and stress response during anaerobic growth on Fe(III)-citrate were revealed. The protein differential regulation seems to ensure efficient cell growth coupled with EPS production by adapting metabolic and biochemical processes in order to face iron toxicity and to optimize energy production.
Differential proteomics provided insights on the molecular mechanisms necessary for anaeorobic utilization of Fe(III)-citrate in a biotechnologically promising enterobacteriun, also revealing genes that can be targeted for the rational design of high-yielding EPS producer strains.
PMCID: PMC3539929  PMID: 23176641
3.  Involvement of an Alkane Hydroxylase System of Gordonia sp. Strain SoCg in Degradation of Solid n-Alkanes▿  
Enzymes involved in oxidation of long-chain n-alkanes are still not well known, especially those in Gram-positive bacteria. This work describes the alkane degradation system of the n-alkane degrader actinobacterium Gordonia sp. strain SoCg, which is able to grow on n-alkanes from dodecane (C12) to hexatriacontane (C36) as the sole C source. SoCg harbors in its chromosome a single alk locus carrying six open reading frames (ORFs), which shows 78 to 79% identity with the alkane hydroxylase (AH)-encoding systems of other alkane-degrading actinobacteria. Quantitative reverse transcription-PCR showed that the genes encoding AlkB (alkane 1-monooxygenase), RubA3 (rubredoxin), RubA4 (rubredoxin), and RubB (rubredoxin reductase) were induced by both n-hexadecane and n-triacontane, which were chosen as representative long-chain liquid and solid n-alkane molecules, respectively. Biotransformation of n-hexadecane into the corresponding 1-hexadecanol was detected by solid-phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (SPME/GC-MS) analysis. The Gordonia SoCg alkB was heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli BL21 and in Streptomyces coelicolor M145, and both hosts acquired the ability to transform n-hexadecane into 1-hexadecanol, but the corresponding long-chain alcohol was never detected on n-triacontane. However, the recombinant S. coelicolor M145-AH, expressing the Gordonia alkB gene, was able to grow on n-triacontane as the sole C source. A SoCg alkB disruption mutant that is completely unable to grow on n-triacontane was obtained, demonstrating the role of an AlkB-type AH system in degradation of solid n-alkanes.
PMCID: PMC3067205  PMID: 21183636
4.  Differential proteomic analysis highlights metabolic strategies associated with balhimycin production in Amycolatopsis balhimycina chemostat cultivations 
Proteomics was recently used to reveal enzymes whose expression is associated with the production of the glycopeptide antibiotic balhimycin in Amycolatopsis balhimycina batch cultivations. Combining chemostat fermentation technology, where cells proliferate with constant parameters in a highly reproducible steady-state, and differential proteomics, the relationships between physiological status and metabolic pathways during antibiotic producing and non-producing conditions could be highlighted.
Two minimal defined media, one with low Pi (0.6 mM; LP) and proficient glucose (12 g/l) concentrations and the other one with high Pi (1.8 mM) and limiting (6 g/l; LG) glucose concentrations, were developed to promote and repress antibiotic production, respectively, in A. balhimycina chemostat cultivations. Applying the same dilution rate (0.03 h-1), both LG and LP chemostat cultivations showed a stable steady-state where biomass production yield coefficients, calculated on glucose consumption, were 0.38 ± 0.02 and 0.33 ± 0.02 g/g (biomass dry weight/glucose), respectively. Notably, balhimycin was detected only in LP, where quantitative RT-PCR revealed upregulation of selected bal genes, devoted to balhimycin biosynthesis, and of phoP, phoR, pstS and phoD, known to be associated to Pi limitation stress response. 2D-Differential Gel Electrophoresis (DIGE) and protein identification, performed by mass spectrometry and computer-assisted 2 D reference-map matching, demonstrated a differential expression for proteins involved in many metabolic pathways or cellular processes, including central carbon and phosphate metabolism. Interestingly, proteins playing a key role in generation of primary metabolism intermediates and cofactors required for balhimycin biosynthesis were upregulated in LP. Finally, a bioinformatic approach showed PHO box-like regulatory elements in the upstream regions of nine differentially expressed genes, among which two were tested by electrophoresis mobility shift assays (EMSA).
In the two chemostat conditions, used to generate biomass for proteomic analysis, mycelia grew with the same rate and with similar glucose-biomass conversion efficiencies. Global gene expression analysis revealed a differential metabolic adaptation, highlighting strategies for energetic supply and biosynthesis of metabolic intermediates required for biomass production and, in LP, for balhimycin biosynthesis. These data, confirming a relationship between primary metabolism and antibiotic production, could be used to increase antibiotic yield both by rational genetic engineering and fermentation processes improvement.
PMCID: PMC3004843  PMID: 21110849
5.  Optimized RNA Extraction and Northern Hybridization in Streptomycetes 
Northern blot hybridization is a useful tool for analyzing transcript patterns. To get a picture of what really occurs in vivo, it is necessary to use a protocol allowing full protection of the RNA integrity and recovery and unbiased transfer of the entire transcripts population. Many protocols suffer from severe limitations including only partial protection of the RNA integrity and/or loss of small sized molecules. Moreover, some of them do not allow an efficient and even transfer in the entire sizes range. These difficulties become more prominent in streptomycetes, where an initial quick lysis step is difficult to obtain. We present here an optimized northern hybridization protocol to purify, fractionate, blot, and hybridize Streptomyces RNA. It is based on grinding by a high-performance laboratory ball mill, followed by prompt lysis with acid phenol-guanidinium, alkaline transfer, and hybridization to riboprobes. Use of this protocol resulted in sharp and intense hybridization signals relative to long mRNAs previously difficult to detect.
PMCID: PMC3055743  PMID: 21406069
streptomycetes; total RNA purification; RNA processing; RNA degradation; RNA glyoxylation; alkaline blotting; northern hybridization
6.  Phosphate-Controlled Regulator for the Biosynthesis of the Dalbavancin Precursor A40926▿ † 
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(22):8120-8129.
The actinomycete Nonomuraea sp. strain ATCC 39727 produces the glycopeptide A40926, the precursor of the novel antibiotic dalbavancin. Previous studies have shown that phosphate limitation results in enhanced A40926 production. The A40926 biosynthetic gene (dbv) cluster, which consists of 37 genes, encodes two putative regulators, Dbv3 and Dbv4, as well as the response regulator (Dbv6) and the sensor-kinase (Dbv22) of a putative two-component system. Reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) and real-time RT-PCR analysis revealed that the dbv14-dbv8 and the dbv30-dbv35 operons, as well as dbv4, were negatively influenced by phosphate. Dbv4 shows a putative helix-turn-helix DNA-binding motif and shares sequence similarity with StrR, the transcriptional activator of streptomycin biosynthesis in Streptomyces griseus. Dbv4 was expressed in Escherichia coli as an N-terminal His6-tagged protein. The purified protein bound the dbv14 and dbv30 upstream regions but not the region preceding dbv4. Bbr, a Dbv4 ortholog from the gene cluster for the synthesis of the glycopeptide balhimycin, also bound to the dbv14 and dbv30 upstream regions, while Dbv4 bound appropriate regions from the balhimycin cluster. Our results provide new insights into the regulation of glycopeptide antibiotics, indicating that the phosphate-controlled regulator Dbv4 governs two key steps in A40926 biosynthesis: the biosynthesis of the nonproteinogenic amino acid 3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine and critical tailoring reactions on the heptapeptide backbone.
PMCID: PMC2168674  PMID: 17873036
7.  Comparison of Different Primer Sets for Use in Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis of Complex Bacterial Communities 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2004;70(10):6147-6156.
ITSF and ITSReub, constituting a new primer set designed for the amplification of the 16S-23S rRNA intergenic transcribed spacers, have been compared with primer sets consisting of 1406F and 23Sr (M. M. Fisher and E. W. Triplett, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 65:4630-4636, 1999) and S-D-Bact-1522-b-S-20 and L-D-Bact-132-a-A-18 (L. Ranjard et al., Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 67:4479-4487, 2001), previously proposed for automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) of complex bacterial communities. An agricultural soil and a polluted soil, maize silage, goat milk, a small marble sample from the façade of the Certosa of Pavia (Pavia, Italy), and brine from a deep hypersaline anoxic basin in the Mediterranean Sea were analyzed with the three primer sets. The number of peaks in the ARISA profiles, the range of peak size (width of the profile), and the reproducibility of results were used as indices to evaluate the efficiency of the three primer sets. The overall data showed that ITSF and ITSReub generated the most informative (in term of peak number) and reproducible profiles and yielded a wider range of spacer sizes (134 to 1,387) than the other primer sets, which were limited in detecting long fragments. The minimum amount of DNA template and sensitivity in detection of minor DNA populations were evaluated with artificial mixtures of defined bacterial species. ITSF and ITSReub amplified all the bacteria at DNA template concentrations from 280 to 0.14 ng μl−1, while the other primer sets failed to detect the spacers of one or more bacterial strains. Although the primer set consisting of ITSF and ITSReub and that of S-D-Bact-1522-b-S-20 and L-D-Bact-132-a-A-18 showed similar sensitivities for the DNA of Allorhizobium undicula mixed with the DNA of other species, the S-D-Bact-1522-b-S-20 and L-D-Bact-132-a-A-18 primer set failed to detect the DNA of Pseudomonas stutzeri.
PMCID: PMC522057  PMID: 15466561

Results 1-7 (7)