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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2014 May;354(1):19-26. doi: 10.1111/1574-6968.12431. Epub 2014 Apr 10.

Antibacterial enzymes from the functional screening of metagenomic libraries hosted in Ralstonia metallidurans.

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Laboratory of Genetically Encoded Small Molecules, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA.


Phenotype-based screening of bacterial metagenomic libraries provides an avenue for the discovery of novel genes, enzymes, and metabolites that have a variety of potential clinical and industrial uses. Here, we report the identification of a functionally diverse collection of antibacterially active enzymes from the phenotypic screening of 700 000 cosmid clones prepared from Arizona soil DNA and hosted in Ralstonia metallidurans. Environmental DNA clones surrounded by zones of growth inhibition in a bacterial overlay assay were found, through bioinformatics and functional analyses, to encode enzymes with predicted peptidase, lipase, and glycolytic activities conferring antibiosis. The antibacterial activities observed in our R. metallidurans-based assay could not be replicated with the same clones in screens using Escherichia coli as a heterologous host, suggesting that the large-scale screening of metagenomic libraries for antibiosis using phylogenetically diverse hosts should be a productive strategy for identifying enzymes with functionally diverse antibacterial activities.


eDNA; metagenomic; soil

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