The Serratia gene cluster encoding biosynthesis of the red antibiotic, prodigiosin, shows species- and strain-dependent genome context variation

Microbiology (Reading). 2004 Nov;150(Pt 11):3547-3560. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.27222-0.


The prodigiosin biosynthesis gene cluster (pig cluster) from two strains of Serratia (S. marcescens ATCC 274 and Serratia sp. ATCC 39006) has been cloned, sequenced and expressed in heterologous hosts. Sequence analysis of the respective pig clusters revealed 14 ORFs in S. marcescens ATCC 274 and 15 ORFs in Serratia sp. ATCC 39006. In each Serratia species, predicted gene products showed similarity to polyketide synthases (PKSs), non-ribosomal peptide synthases (NRPSs) and the Red proteins of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2). Comparisons between the two Serratia pig clusters and the red cluster from Str. coelicolor A3(2) revealed some important differences. A modified scheme for the biosynthesis of prodigiosin, based on the pathway recently suggested for the synthesis of undecylprodigiosin, is proposed. The distribution of the pig cluster within several Serratia sp. isolates is demonstrated and the presence of cryptic clusters in some strains shown. The pig cluster of Serratia marcescens ATCC 274 is flanked by cueR and copA homologues and this configuration is demonstrated in several S. marcescens strains, whilst these genes are contiguous in strains lacking the pig cluster.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Blotting, Southern
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / isolation & purification
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Order
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Peptide Synthases / genetics
  • Polyketide Synthases / genetics
  • Prodigiosin / biosynthesis*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Serratia / genetics*
  • Serratia / metabolism*
  • Streptomyces coelicolor / genetics


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • CopA protein, Bacteria
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • MerR protein, Bacteria
  • Polyketide Synthases
  • Peptide Synthases
  • non-ribosomal peptide synthase
  • Prodigiosin

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ833001
  • GENBANK/AJ833002