Deletion of the signalling molecule synthase ScbA has pleiotropic effects on secondary metabolite biosynthesis, morphological differentiation and primary metabolism in Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2)

Microb Biotechnol. 2011 Mar;4(2):239-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7915.2010.00232.x. Epub 2010 Dec 8.


Streptomycetes have high biotechnological relevance as producers of diverse metabolites widely used in medical and agricultural applications. The biosynthesis of these metabolites is controlled by signalling molecules, γ-butyrolactones, that act as bacterial hormones. In Streptomyces coelicolor, a group of signalling molecules called SCBs (S. coelicolorbutanolides) regulates production of the pigmented antibiotics coelicolor polyketide (CPK), actinorhodin and undecylprodigiosin. The γ-butyrolactone synthase ScbA is responsible for the biosynthesis of SCBs. Here we show the results of a genome-wide transcriptome analysis of a scbA deletion mutant prior to and during the transition to antibiotic production. We report a strong perturbation in the expression of three pigmented antibiotic clusters in the mutant throughout the growth curve, thus providing a molecular explanation for the antibiotic phenotype observed previously. Our study also revealed, for the first time, that the secondary metabolite cluster responsible for synthesis of the siderophore desferrioxamine is under the control of SCB signalling. Moreover, expression of the genes encoding enzymes for primary metabolism pathways, which supply antibiotic precursors and genes for morphological differentiation, was found shifted earlier in time in the mutant. In conclusion, our time series analysis demonstrates new details of the regulatory effects of the γ-butyrolactone system in Streptomyces.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 4-Butyrolactone / metabolism*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / biosynthesis
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Deletion*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Signal Transduction
  • Streptomyces coelicolor / enzymology
  • Streptomyces coelicolor / genetics
  • Streptomyces coelicolor / growth & development*
  • Streptomyces coelicolor / metabolism*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • ScbA protein, Streptomyces
  • 4-Butyrolactone