Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Chem Biol. 1999 Apr;6(4):251-63.

Molecular characterization and analysis of the biosynthetic gene cluster for the antitumor antibiotic mitomycin C from Streptomyces lavendulae NRRL 2564.

Author information

University of Minnesota, Department of Microbiology, Biological ProcessTechnology Institute, 1460 Mayo Memorial Building, Box 196 UFHC, 420 Delaware Street S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.



The mitomycins are natural products that contain a variety of functional groups, including aminobenzoquinone- and aziridine-ring systems. Mitomycin C (MC) was the first recognized bioreductive alkylating agent, and has been widely used clinically for antitumor therapy. Precursor-feeding studies showed that MC is derived from 3-amino-5-hydroxybenzoic acid (AHBA), D-glucosamine, L-methionine and carbamoyl phosphate. A genetically linked AHBA biosynthetic gene and MC resistance genes were identified previously in the MC producer Streptomyces lavendulae NRRL 2564. We set out to identify other genes involved in MC biosynthesis.


A cluster of 47 genes spanning 55 kilobases of S. lavendulae DNA governs MC biosynthesis. Fourteen of 22 disruption mutants did not express or overexpressed MC. Seven gene products probably assemble the AHBA intermediate through a variant of the shikimate pathway. The gene encoding the first presumed enzyme in AHBA biosynthesis is not, however, linked within the MC cluster. Candidate genes for mitosane nucleus formation and functionalization were identified. A putative MC translocase was identified that comprises a novel drug-binding and export system, which confers cellular self-protection on S. lavendulae. Two regulatory genes were also identified.


The overall architecture of the MC biosynthetic gene cluster in S. lavendulae has been determined. Targeted manipulation of a putative MC pathway regulator led to a substantial increase in drug production. The cloned genes should help elucidate the molecular basis for creation of the mitosane ring system, as well efforts to engineer the biosynthesis of novel natural products.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center