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EMBO J. 1990 Mar;9(3):741-7.

Beta-lactam antibiotic biosynthetic genes have been conserved in clusters in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Bristol, UK.


A cosmid clone containing closely linked beta-lactam antibiotic biosynthetic genes was isolated from a gene library of Flavobacterium sp. SC 12,154. The location within the cluster of the DNA thought to contain the gene for delta-(L-alpha-aminoadipyl)-L-cysteinyl-D-valine synthetase (ACVS), the first step in the beta-lactam antibiotic biosynthetic pathway, was identified by a novel method. This DNA facilitated the isolation, by cross-hybridization, of the corresponding DNA from Streptomyces clavuligerus ATCC 27064, Penicillium chrysogenum Oli13 and Aspergillus nidulans R153. Evidence was obtained which confirmed that the cross-hybridizing sequences contained the ACVS gene. In each case the ACVS gene was found to be closely linked to other beta-lactam biosynthetic genes and constituted part of a gene cluster.

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