Isolation of a gene essential for biosynthesis of the lipopeptide antibiotics plipastatin B1 and surfactin in Bacillus subtilis YB8
Bacillus subtilis YB8 was found to produce the lipopeptide antibiotics surfactin and plipastatin B1. A gene, lpa-8, required for the production of both lipopeptides was cloned from strain YB8. When this gene was inactivated in strain YB8, neither surfactin nor plipastatin B1 was produced. However, the defective strain transformed with an intact lpa-8 gene had restored ability to produce both peptides. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the region essential for the production of the peptides revealed the presence of a large open reading frame. The deduced amino acid sequence of lpa-8 (224 amino acid residues) showed sequence similarity to that of sfp (from surfactin-producing B. subtilis), lpa-14 (from iturin A- and surfactin-producing B. subtilis), psf-1 (from surfactin-producing Bacillus pumilus), gsp (from gramicidin-S-producing Bacillus brevis), and entD (from siderophore-enterobactin-producing Escherichia coli), which are able to complement a defect in the sfp gene and promote production of the lipopeptide antibiotic surfactin. The sequence similarity among these proteins and the product similarity of cyclic peptides suggests that they might be involved in the biosynthesis or secretion of the peptides.
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