RP181110 produces the macrolide polyketide spiramycin. Like many other species, the RP181110 strain is prone to genetic instability involving genomic rearrangements (deletions and/or amplifications) in the large unstable region of the genome. It has previously been demonstrated that the amplification of a particular locus () affects spiramycin biosynthesis and, conversely, the loss of this amplification is correlated with the restoration of antibiotic production. This report focuses on a 0.93 kb reiterated fragment specific for the locus. Sequencing of 3596 bp including this reiteration revealed the presence of an ORF () whose potential product was highly homologous to the EryA and Raps proteins, responsible for the biosynthesis of erythromycin in and rapamycin in respectively. encodes a protein with at least four successive domains: ketoacyl synthase, acyltransferase, ketoreductase and acyl carrier protein. This organization is very similar to most and modules. The reiterated sequence corresponds to the acyltransferase domain. was transcribed during rapid growth and stationary phase in RP181110 and overtranscribed in the amplified mutant. Both these results suggest that the gene encodes a type I polyketide synthase and its reorganization is responsible for the loss of spiramycin production in the amplified strains.


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