Genetic potential for secondary metabolite production in stromatolite communities.
ABSTRACT The cyanobacterial communities associated with stromatolites surviving in extreme habitats are a potentially rich source of bioactive secondary metabolites. We screened for the potential for production of bioactive metabolites in diverse species of cyanobacteria isolated from stromatolites in Hamelin Pool, Shark Bay, Australia. Using degenerate primer sets, putative peptide synthetase and polyketide synthase genes were detected from strains of Symploca, Leptolyngybya, Microcoleus, Pleuorocapsa, and Plectonema sp. Sequence analysis indicates the enzymes encoded by these genes may be responsible for the production of different secondary metabolites, such as hepatotoxins and antibiotics. Computer modelling was also conducted to predict the putative amino acid recognised by the unknown adenylation domain in the NRPS sequences. Mass spectral analysis also allowed the putative identification of the cyclic peptides cyanopeptolin S and 21-bromo-oscillatoxin A in two of the isolates. This is the first time evidence of secondary metabolite production has been shown in stromatolite-associated microorganisms.
Article: Investigation of the biosynthetic potential of endophytes in traditional Chinese anticancer herbs.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Traditional Chinese medicine encompasses a rich empirical knowledge of the use of plants for the treatment of disease. In addition, the microorganisms associated with medicinal plants are also of interest as the producers of the compounds responsible for the observed plant bioactivity. The present study has pioneered the use of genetic screening to assess the potential of endophytes to synthesize bioactive compounds, as indicated by the presence of non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) and polyketide synthase (PKS) genes. The total DNA extracts of 30 traditional Chinese herbs, were screened for functional genes involved in the biosynthesis of bioactive compounds. The four PCR screens were successful in targeting four bacterial PKS, six bacterial NRPS, ten fungal PKS and three fungal NRPS gene fragments. Analysis of the detected endophyte gene fragments afforded consideration of the possible bioactivity of the natural products produced by endophytes in medicinal herbs. This investigation describes a rapid method for the initial screening of medicinal herbs and has highlighted a subset of those plants that host endophytes with biosynthetic potential. These selected plants can be the focus of more comprehensive endophyte isolation and natural product studies.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e35953. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Distribution and diversity of natural product genes in marine and freshwater cyanobacterial cultures and genomes.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Natural products are a functionally diverse class of biochemically synthesized compounds, which include antibiotics, toxins, and siderophores. In this paper, we describe both the detection of natural product activities and the sequence identification of gene fragments from two molecular systems that have previously been implicated in natural product production, i.e., nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) and modular polyketide synthases (PKSs), in diverse marine and freshwater cyanobacterial cultures. Using degenerate PCR and the sequencing of cloned products, we show that NRPSs and PKSs are common among the cyanobacteria tested. Our molecular data, when combined with genomic searches of finished and progressing cyanobacterial genomes, demonstrate that not all cyanobacteria contain NRPS and PKS genes and that the filamentous and heterocystous cyanobacteria are the richest sources of these genes and the most likely sources of novel natural products within the phylum. In addition to validating the use of degenerate primers for the identification of PKS and NRPS genes in cyanobacteria, this study also defines numerous gene fragments that will be useful as probes for future studies of the synthesis of natural products in cyanobacteria. Phylogenetic analyses of the cyanobacterial NRPS and PKS fragments sequenced in this study, as well as those from the cyanobacterial genome projects, demonstrate that there is remarkable diversity and likely novelty of these genes within the cyanobacteria. These results underscore the potential variety of novel products being produced by these ubiquitous organisms.Applied and Environmental Microbiology 12/2005; 71(11):7401-13. · 3.83 Impact Factor