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DNA Cell Biol. 2010 Sep;29(9):533-41. doi: 10.1089/dna.2010.1020.

Psychrotrophic strain of Janthinobacterium lividum from a cold Alaskan soil produces prodigiosin.

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Departments of Bacteriology and Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin , Madison, Wisconsin, USA.


We have explored the microbial community in a nonpermafrost, cold Alaskan soil using both culture-based and culture-independent approaches. In the present study, we cultured >1000 bacterial isolates from this soil and characterized the collection of isolates phylogenetically and functionally. A screen for antibiosis identified an atypical, red-pigmented strain of Janthinobacterium lividum (strain BR01) that produced prodigiosin when grown at cool temperatures as well as strains (e.g., strain BP01) that are more typical of J. lividium, which produce a purple pigment, violacein. Both purple- and red-pigmented strains exhibited high levels of resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics. The prodigiosin pathway cloned from J. lividium BR01 was expressed in the heterologous host, Escherichia coli, and the responsible gene cluster differs from that of a well-studied prodigiosin producer, Serratia sp. J. lividum BR01 is the first example of a prodigiosin-producer among the beta-Proteobacteria. The results show that characterization of cultured organisms from previously unexplored environments can expand the current portrait of the microbial world.

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