Cloning and expression in a heterologous host of the complete set of genes for biosynthesis of the Streptomyces coelicolor antibiotic undecylprodigiosin

Gene. 1990 Sep 1;93(1):91-9. doi: 10.1016/0378-1119(90)90141-d.


A fragment of DNA carrying the hitherto unisolated members of the cluster of genes (red) for biosynthesis of the red-pigmented antibiotic undecylprodigiosin of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) was isolated. This was done by cloning random fragments of S. coelicolor DNA into the closely related Streptomyces lividans 66 and recovering a clone that caused overproduction of undecylprodigiosin. The effect was probably due to the presence of the cloned redD gene, which functions as a positive regulator of the expression of the red cluster, activating the normally poorly expressed red genes of S. lividans. Two fragments from either end of the red cluster were cloned adjacent to each other on a low-copy-number Streptomyces vector. Double crossing-over occurring between these plasmid-borne sequences and the chromosomal copy of the same DNA in S. coelicolor led to isolation of the entire red cluster as a single cloned fragment. Isolation of antibiotic biosynthetic genes by the effects of an activator in a self-cloning experiment, and in vivo reconstitution of a large cluster of genes by homologous recombination, may turn out to be usefully generalizable procedures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Plasmids
  • Prodigiosin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Prodigiosin / biosynthesis
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Streptomyces / genetics*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • undecylprodigiosin
  • Prodigiosin