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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2000 Dec;78(3-4):269-76.

Effects of increased and deregulated expression of cell division genes on the morphology and on antibiotic production of streptomycetes.

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Department of Biochemistry, Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University, The Netherlands.


This paper describes the effects of increased expression of the cell division genes ftsZ, ftsQ, and ssgA on the development of both solid- and liquid-grown mycelium of Streptomyces coelicolor and Streptomyces lividans. Over-expression of ftsZ in S. coelicolor M145 inhibited aerial mycelium formation and blocked sporulation. Such deficient sporulation was also observed for the ftsZ mutant. Over-expression of ftsZ also inhibited morphological differentiation in S. lividans 1326, although aerial mycelium formation was less reduced. Furthermore, antibiotic production was increased in both strains, and in particular the otherwise dormant actinorhodin biosynthesis cluster of S. lividans was activated in liquid- and solid-grown cultures. No significant alterations were observed when the gene dosage of ftsQ was increased. Analysis by transmission electron microscopy of an S. coelicolor strain overexpressing ssgA showed that septum formation had strongly increased in comparison to wild-type S. coelicolor, showing that SsgA clearly influences Streptomyces cell division. The morphology of the hyphae was affected such that irregular septa were produced with a significantly wider diameter, thereby forming spore-like compartments. This suggests that ssgA can induce a process similar to submerged sporulation in Streptomyces strains that otherwise fail to do so. A working model is proposed for the regulation of septum formation and of submerged sporulation.

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