SUMMARY: sp. MA406-A-1 produced formycin (a nucleoside antibiotic) in parallel with cell growth in a synthetic medium. When the synthetic medium was supplemented with 1% (w/v) Casamino acids, however, formycin was produced only after the end of exponential growth. The intracellular ppGpp pool increased gradually towards the end of exponential growth and was maximal at the beginning of formycin production. After shift down from Casamino acids medium to synthetic medium, the ppGpp pool increased immediately, while the GTP pool decreased; under such conditions, the ability to produce formycin increased eightfold. Relaxed () mutants, the first isolated for a species, were found at high incidence (10%) among spontaneous thiopeptin-resistant isolates and had severely reduced abilities to accumulate ppGpp. These mutants also failed to produce formycin under the usual culture conditions and exhibited numerous pleiotropic effects such as an inability to produce melanin and an extended delay of aerial mycelium formation. Thus sp. exhibited a typical stringent response, and the response initiated (or was needed for) the induction of secondary metabolism. The response may have also participated in the initiation of aerial mycelium formation by decreasing the intracellular GTP pool.


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