Microbial Ecology

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 10–24 | Cite as

New PCR Primers for the Screening of NRPS and PKS-I Systems in Actinomycetes: Detection and Distribution of These Biosynthetic Gene Sequences in Major Taxonomic Groups

  • A. Ayuso-Sacido
  • O. Genilloud


Nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS) and type I polyketide synthases (PKS-I) are biosynthetic systems involved in the synthesis of a large number of important biologically active compounds produced by microorganisms, among others by actinomycetes. In order to assess the occurrence of these biosynthetic systems in this metabolically active bacterial group, we designed new PCR primers targeted to specifically amplify NRPS and PKS-I gene sequences from actinomycetes. The sequence analysis of amplified products cloned from two model systems and used to validate these molecular tools has shown the extreme richness of NRPS or PKS-I-like sequences in the actinomycete genome. When these PCR primers were tested on a large collection of 210 reference strains encompassing all major families and genera in actinomycetes, we observed that the wide distribution of these genes in the well-known productive Streptomyces species is also extended to other minor lineages where in some cases very few bioactive compounds have been identified to date.


NRPS Gene Streptomyces Hygroscopicus Cephamycin Nonribosomal Peptide Synthetase Adenylation Domain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



A. Ayuso was recipient of a pre-doctoral fellowship from the MIT program, Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología, Spain. We are grateful to O. Salazar for his help on sequence data analysis and for providing many of the genome DNAs tested from the reference strain collection. We also thank A. Anderson and Z. An for sharing with us their results prior to publication, and especially A. Anderson for her helpful comments and discussions during the preparation of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Investigatión BásicaMerck Research Laboratories, Merck Sharp and Dohme de España S.A.MadridSpain

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