Send to

Choose Destination
J Antibiot (Tokyo). 2010 Aug;63(8):442-59. doi: 10.1038/ja.2010.78. Epub 2010 Jul 28.

Carbon source regulation of antibiotic production.

Author information

Departamento de Biología Molecular y Biotecnología, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, DF, México.


Antibiotics are low-molecular-mass products of secondary metabolism, nonessential for the growth of producing organisms, but very important for human health. They have unusual structures and are most often formed during the late growth phase of the producing microorganisms. Their production arises from intracellular intermediates, which are condensed into more complex structures through defined biochemical pathways. Their synthesis can be influenced by manipulating the type and concentration of nutrients formulating the culture media. Among them, the effect of the carbon source has been the subject of continuous studies for both industry and research groups. Glucose and other carbohydrates have been reported to interfere with antibiotic synthesis and this effect depends on the rapid utilization of the preferred carbon source. Different mechanisms have been described in bacteria and fungi to explain the negative effects of carbon catabolites on antibiotic production. They show important differences depending on the microbe being considered. Their understanding and manipulation have been useful for both perfecting fermentation conditions to produce anti-infectives and for strain improvement. To improve the production of antibiotics, carbon source repression can be decreased or abolished by mutations resulting in antimetabolite resistance. Enzymes reported as regulated by the carbon source have been used as targets for strain improvement. During the last few years, important advances have been reported elucidating the essential aspects of carbon source regulation on antibiotic production at biochemical and molecular levels. The aim of this review is to describe these advances, giving special emphasis to those reported for the genus Streptomyces.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center