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J Bacteriol. 1999 Jan;181(2):642-7.

The mithramycin gene cluster of Streptomyces argillaceus contains a positive regulatory gene and two repeated DNA sequences that are located at both ends of the cluster.

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Departamento de Biología Funcional e Instituto Universitario de Biotecnología de Asturias, Universidad de Oviedo, 33006 Oviedo, Spain.


Sequencing of a 4.3-kb DNA region from the chromosome of Streptomyces argillaceus, a mithramycin producer, revealed the presence of two open reading frames (ORFs). The first one (orfA) codes for a protein that resembles several transport proteins. The second one (mtmR) codes for a protein similar to positive regulators involved in antibiotic biosynthesis (DnrI, SnoA, ActII-orf4, CcaR, and RedD) belonging to the Streptomyces antibiotic regulatory protein (SARP) family. Both ORFs are separated by a 1.9-kb, apparently noncoding region. Replacement of the mtmR region by an antibiotic resistance cassette completely abolished mithramycin biosynthesis. Expression of mtmR in a high-copy-number vector in S. argillaceus caused a 16-fold increase in mithramycin production. The mtmR gene restored actinorhodin production in Streptomyces coelicolor JF1 mutant, in which the actinorhodin-specific activator ActII-orf4 is inactive, and also stimulated actinorhodin production by Streptomyces lividans TK21. A 241-bp region located 1.9 kb upstream of mtmR was found to be repeated approximately 50 kb downstream of mtmR at the other end of the mithramycin gene cluster. A model to explain a possible route for the acquisition of the mithramycin gene cluster by S. argillaceus is proposed.

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