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Microbiology. 2006 Mar;152(Pt 3):675-83.

Antibiotic-producing ability by representatives of a newly discovered lineage of actinomycetes.

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  • 1Vicuron Pharmaceuticals, via R. Lepetit 34, 21040 Gerenzano, Italy.


The discovery of new antibiotics and other bioactive microbial metabolites continues to be an important objective in new drug research. Since extensive screening has led to the discovery of thousands of bioactive microbial molecules, new approaches must be taken in order to reduce the probability of rediscovering known compounds. The authors have recently isolated slow-growing acidophiles belonging to the novel genera Catenulispora and Actinospica within the order Actinomycetales. These strains, which likely belong to a new suborder, grow as filamentous mycelia, have a genome size around 8 Mb, and produce antimicrobial activities. In addition, a single strain harbours simultaneously genes encoding type I and type II polyeketide synthases, as well as non-ribosomal peptide synthetases. The metabolite produced by one strain was identified as a previously reported dimeric isochromanequinone. In addition, at least the Catenulispora strains appear globally distributed, since a PCR-specific signal could be detected in a significant fraction of acidic soils from different continents, and similar strains have been independently isolated from an Australian soil (Jospeh et al., Appl Environ Microbiol 69, 7210-7215, 2003). Thus, these previously uncultured actinomycetes share several features with Streptomyces and related antibiotic-producing genera, and represent a promising source of novel antibiotics.

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