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Chem Biol. 1999 Sep;6(9):617-24.

Multiple regulatory genes in the tylosin biosynthetic cluster of Streptomyces fradiae.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK.



The macrolide antibiotic tylosin is composed of a polyketide lactone substituted with three deoxyhexose sugars. In order to produce tylosin efficiently, Streptomyces fradiae presumably requires control mechanisms that balance the yields of the constituent metabolic pathways together with switches that allow for temporal regulation of antibiotic production. In addition to possible metabolic feedback and/or other signalling devices, such control probably involves interplay between specific regulatory proteins. Prior to the present work, however, no candidate regulatory gene(s) had been identified in S. fradiae.


DNA sequencing has shown that the tylosin biosynthetic gene cluster, within which four open reading frames utilise the rare TTA codon, contains at least five candidate regulatory genes, one of which (tylP) encodes a gamma-butyrolactone signal receptor for which tylQ is a probable target. Two other genes (tylS and tylT) encode pathway-specific regulatory proteins of the Streptomyces antibiotic regulatory protein (SARP) family and a fifth, tylR, has been shown by mutational analysis to control various aspects of tylosin production.


The tyl genes of S. fradiae include the richest collection of regulators yet encountered in a single antibiotic biosynthetic gene cluster. Control of tylosin biosynthesis is now amenable to detailed study, and manipulation of these various regulatory genes is likely to influence yields in tylosin-production fermentations.

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