Antibiotic production and cellular development in bacteria are intimately linked to the extracellular environment. One key mechanism by which bacteria recognise and respond to these external cues is through two-component regulatory systems (2CS). Consisting of a membrane-bound sensor kinase and a cognate DNA-binding response regulator, these 2CSs are essential in the response to a myriad of signals including antibiotic attack, microbial interaction and nutrient availability. The soil-associated filamentous actinobacteria Streptomyces spp. are prolific antibiotic producers with a large number of 2CS. In addition to their complex life cycle a new developmental stage has recently been described termed exploration. When exploring, the streptomycetes rapidly expand via non-branching vegetative hyphae when contacted by fungi, a juxtaposition to the canonical lifecycle which ends in sporulation. Fifteen of the fifty-six 2CS in the model organism Streptomyces venezuelae are highly conserved throughout Streptomycetaceae. Having developed and screened a 2CS operon deletion library within S. venezuelae we determined that one of these, cutRS, is involved in co-ordinating exploration and antibiotic production. The cutRS deletion mutant displays unrepressed exploration and overproduction of chloramphenicol. With a greater understanding of how Streptomyces spp. identify and respond to external signals we can imitate and subvert these systems. Using this we aim to activate cryptic biosynthetic gene clusters enabling the discovery of novel antimicrobial products which may prove beneficial in the clinical setting.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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