Unlike the majority of actinomycete secondary metabolic pathways, the biosynthesis of peptidoglycan glycosyltransferase inhibitor moenomycin in Streptomyces ghanaensis does not involve any cluster-situated regulators (CSRs). This raises questions about the regulatory signals that initiate and sustain moenomycin production. We now show that three pleiotropic regulatory genes for Streptomyces morphogenesis and antibiotic production-bldA, adpA and absB-exert multi-layered control over moenomycin biosynthesis in native and heterologous producers. The bldA gene for tRNA(Leu)UAA is required for the translation of rare UUA codons within two key moenomycin biosynthetic genes (moe), moeO5 and moeE5. It also indirectly influences moenomycin production by controlling the translation of the UUA-containing adpA and, probably, other as-yet-unknown repressor gene(s). AdpA binds key moe promoters and activates them. Furthermore, AdpA interacts with the bldA promoter, thus impacting translation of bldA-dependent mRNAs-that of adpA and several moe genes. Both adpA expression and moenomycin production are increased in an absB-deficient background, most probably because AbsB normally limits adpA mRNA abundance through ribonucleolytic cleavage. Our work highlights an underappreciated strategy for secondary metabolism regulation, in which the interaction between structural genes and pleiotropic regulators is not mediated by CSRs. This strategy might be relevant for a growing number of CSR-free gene clusters unearthed during actinomycete genome mining.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)