Many secondary metabolites have beneficial uses for humans. In addition to their use as antibacterial and antifungal agents, secondary metabolites have been used as immunosuppressants, anti-tumor agents, and antiparasitics. Most of the secondary metabolites known today are produced by filamentous fungi or by members of the Streptomyces genus. Production of secondary metabolites by microorganisms involves a complex, dynamic system, with interconnected elements acting at different levels.
Diverse tools were used in this work to explore regulation of secondary metabolite production, mostly in Streptomyces. The tools have a common characteristic: they either generate large amounts of data, or require large amounts of data.
Regulation of secondary metabolite production in Streptomyces coelicolor was analyzed at the genome level, by using network modules inferred from a large transcriptome dataset. The upstream sequence of the elements in the network modules was searched for the presence of consensus sequences, and these results combined with information on known interactions, binding sites, and functional relatedness. The combination of this information resulted in a set of twenty networks that have a high likelihood of representing true interactions and represent a starting point for further experimental studies.
The characteristics of high productivity were analyzed by comparing the genomes of two strains of the clavulanic acid producer Streptomyces clavuligerus. One of the strains is a high producer of clavulanic acid. Next generation sequence data was used to perform a genome-wide screening to identify all the differences between the two genomes. In addition to mutations in genes involved in β-lactam antibiotic production or their upstream region, structural differences were detected between the two strains.
Next generation sequencing technologies were also used to assemble a draft genome for the curdlan producer Agrobacterium sp. ATCC 31749. Curdlan production mimics that of secondary metabolites, it is triggered under starvation conditions.
These varied approaches exemplify some of the paths that can lead to a better understanding of secondary metabolism and its regulation.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. September 2010. Major: Chemical engineering. Advisor:Wei-Shou Hu. 1 computer file (PDF); xvii, 190 pagges, appendices A-C.
Genomic analysis of regulatory mechanisms involved in secondary metabolite production..
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