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J Bacteriol. 1994 Oct;176(19):6107-19.

Amino acid catabolism and antibiotic synthesis: valine is a source of precursors for macrolide biosynthesis in Streptomyces ambofaciens and Streptomyces fradiae.

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  • 1School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


Targeted inactivation of the valine (branched-chain amino acid) dehydrogenase gene (vdh) was used to study the role of valine catabolism in the production of tylosin in Streptomyces fradiae and spiramycin in Streptomyces ambofaciens. The deduced products of the vdh genes, cloned and sequenced from S. fradiae C373.1 and S. ambofaciens ATCC 15154, are approximately 80% identical over all 363 amino acids and 96% identical over a span of the first N-terminal 107 amino acids, respectively, to the deduced product of the Streptomyces coelicolor vdh gene. The organization of the regions flanking the vdh genes is the same in all three species. Inactivation of the genomic copy of the vdh gene in S. fradiae and S. ambofaciens by insertion of a hygromycin resistance (hyg) gene caused loss of the valine dehydrogenase (Vdh) activity, and thus only one enzyme is responsible for the Vdh activity in these organisms. Analysis of the culture broth by bioassay revealed that the vdh::hyg mutants produce an approximately sixfold-lower level of tylosin and an approximately fourfold-lower level of spiramycin than the wild-type S. fradiae and S. ambofaciens strains, while maintaining essentially identical growth in a defined minimal medium with either 25 mM ammonium ion or 0.05% asparagine as the nitrogen source. The addition of the valine catabolite, propionate or isobutyrate, and introduction of the wild-type vdh gene back to each vdh::hyg mutant reversed the negative effect of the vdh::hyg mutation on spiramycin and tylosin production. These data show that the catabolism of valine is a major source of fatty acid precursors for macrolide biosynthesis under defined growth conditions and imply that amino acid catabolism is a vital source of certain antibiotic precursors in actinomycetes.

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