Lincomycin at Subinhibitory Concentrations Potentiates Secondary Metabolite Production by Streptomyces spp

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Yu ImaiTakeshi Hosaka

Abstract

Antibiotics have either bactericidal or bacteriostatic activity. However, they also induce considerable gene expression in bacteria when used at subinhibitory concentrations (below the MIC). We found that lincomycin, which inhibits protein synthesis by binding to the ribosomes of Gram-positive bacteria, was effective for inducing the expression of genes involved in secondary metabolism in Streptomyces strains when added to medium at subinhibitory concentrations. In Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2), lincomycin at 1/10 of its MIC markedly increased the expression of the pathway-specific regulatory gene actII-ORF4 in the blue-pigmented antibiotic actinorhodin (ACT) biosynthetic gene cluster, which resulted in ACT overproduction. Intriguingly, S. lividans 1326 grown in the presence of lincomycin at a subinhibitory concentration (1/12 or 1/3 of its MIC) produced abundant antibacterial compounds that were not detected in cells grown in lincomycin-free medium. Bioassay and mass spectrometry analysis revealed that some antibacterial compounds were novel congeners of calcium-dependent antibiotics. Our results indicate that lincomycin at subinhibitory concentrations potentiates the production of secondary metabolites in Streptomyces strains...Continue Reading

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