The Prevalence and Distribution of Neurodegenerative Compound-Producing Soil Streptomyces spp

Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 3;6:22566. doi: 10.1038/srep22566.


Recent work from our labs demonstrated that a metabolite(s) from the soil bacterium Streptomyces venezuelae caused dopaminergic neurodegeneration in Caenorhabditis elegans and human neuroblastoma cells. To evaluate the capacity for metabolite production by naturally occurring streptomycetes in Alabama soils, Streptomyces were isolated from soils under different land uses (agriculture, undeveloped, and urban). More isolates were obtained from agricultural than undeveloped soils; there was no significant difference in the number of isolates from urban soils. The genomic diversity of the isolates was extremely high, with only 112 of the 1509 isolates considered clones. A subset was examined for dopaminergic neurodegeneration in the previously established C. elegans model; 28.3% of the tested Streptomyces spp. caused dopaminergic neurons to degenerate. Notably, the Streptomyces spp. isolates from agricultural soils showed more individual neuron damage than isolates from undeveloped or urban soils. These results suggest a common environmental toxicant(s) within the Streptomyces genus that causes dopaminergic neurodegeneration. It could also provide a possible explanation for diseases such as Parkinson's disease (PD), which is widely accepted to have both genetic and environmental factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alabama
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Toxins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Toxins / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Toxins / toxicity
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / metabolism
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / pathology
  • Humans
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / chemically induced
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / metabolism
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / microbiology
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / pathology
  • Soil Microbiology*
  • Streptomyces / genetics
  • Streptomyces / isolation & purification
  • Streptomyces / metabolism


  • Bacterial Toxins