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J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2010 Aug;37(8):759-72. doi: 10.1007/s10295-010-0730-9. Epub 2010 May 14.

Streptomyces and Saccharopolyspora hosts for heterologous expression of secondary metabolite gene clusters.

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CognoGen Biotechnology Consulting, 6438 North Olney Street, Indianapolis, IN 46220, USA.


Natural products discovery from actinomycetes has been on the decline in recent years, and has suffered from a lack of innovative ways to discover new secondary metabolites within a background of the thousands of known compounds. Recent advances in whole genome sequencing have revealed that actinomycetes with large genomes encode multiple secondary metabolite pathways, most of which remain cryptic. One approach to address the expression of cryptic pathways is to first identify novel pathways by bioinformatics, then clone and express them in well-characterized hosts with known secondary metabolomes. This process should eliminate the tedious dereplication process that has hampered natural products discovery. Several laboratory and industrial production strains have been used for heterologous production of secondary metabolite pathways. This review discusses the results of these studies, and the pros and cons of using various Streptomyces and one Saccharopolyspora strain for heterologous expression. This information should provide an experimental basis to help researchers choose hosts for current application and future development to express heterologous secondary metabolite pathways in yields sufficient for rapid scale-up, biological testing, and commercial production.

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