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J Bacteriol. 1996 Apr;178(8):2238-44.

Production of actinorhodin-related "blue pigments" by Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2).

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Department of Microbiology, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.


The genetically well-known strain Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) produces the pH indicator (red/blue) antibiotic actinorhodin, but not all the "blue pigment" produced by this strain is actinorhodin. When the organism was subjected to various nutrient limitations (ammonium, nitrate, phosphate, or trace elements), and also during growth cessation caused by a relatively low medium pH, blue pigment production was initiated but the pigment and its location varied. At pH 4.5 to 5.5, significant formation of actinorhodin occurred and was located exclusively intracellularly. At pH 6.0 to 7.5 a different blue pigment was produced intracellularly as well as extracellularly. It was purified and identified as gamma-actinorhodin (the lactone form of actinorhodin). Analysis of act mutants of S. coelicolor A3(2) confirmed that both pigments are derived from the act biosynthetic pathway. Mutants with lesions in actII-ORF2, actII-ORF3, or actVA-ORF1, previously implicated or suggested to be involved in actinorhodin export, were impaired in production of gamma-actinorhodin, suggesting that synthesis of gamma-actinorhodin from actinorhodin is coupled to its export from the cell. However, effects on the level of actinorhodin production were also found in some mutants.

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