Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Microbiol. 2007 Dec;9(12):3143-9.

The obligate aerobic actinomycete Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) survives extended periods of anaerobic stress.

Author information

Department of Molecular Microbiology, John Innes Centre, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK.


The actinomycete Streptomyces coelicolor is an obligate aerobe that is found in soil and aqueous habitats. The levels of oxygen in these environments can vary considerably, which raises the question of how these bacteria survive during periods of anaerobiosis. Although S. coelicolor cannot grow in the complete absence of oxygen, we demonstrate here that it is capable of microaerobic growth and maintaining viability through several weeks of strict anaerobiosis. Both resting and germinated spores are able to survive abrupt exposure to anaerobiosis, which contrasts the situation with Mycobacterium species where gradual oxygen depletion is required to establish a latent state in which the bacterium is able to survive extended periods of anaerobiosis. Growth of S. coelicolor resumes immediately upon re-introduction of oxygen. Taken together these findings indicate that survival is not restricted to spores and suggest that the bacterium has evolved a mechanism to maintain viability and a membrane potential in the hyphal state. Furthermore, although we demonstrate that several members of the genus also survive long periods of anaerobic stress, one species, Streptomyces avermitilis, does not have this capacity and might represent a naturally occurring variant that is unable to adopt this survival strategy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center