Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 11, pp 4539–4548 | Cite as

Two amino acids missing of MtrA resulted in increased erythromycin level and altered phenotypes in Saccharopolyspora erythraea

  • Qian Pan
  • Yanbin Tong
  • Ya-Jie Han
  • Bang-Ce YeEmail author
Applied microbial and cell physiology


The MtrA-MtrB two-component regulatory system is highly conserved in Actinobacteria and plays crucial roles in cell cycle progression, cell morphology, antibiotic resistance, and osmoprotection. Previously, we revealed that the MtrA protein of Saccharopolyspora erythraea E3 strain (a high erythromycin-producing strain) had a two amino acid (H197 and V198) deletion in the DNA recognition helices of the C-terminal domain compared to the wild type S. erythraea strain NRRL2338. Here, we identified mepA (encoding a membrane protein related to metalloendopeptidases) as an MtrA target gene, and found that deleting the two amino acids in MtrA (MtrAdel) resulted in the loss of its DNA-binding activity for the mepA gene. The mutant MtrAdel lost its regulatory activity and affected various physiological functions consistent with mtrA deletion, including increased erythromycin biosynthesis, enhanced antibiotic resistance, deregulated osmoprotection, and improved transport of substances. The introduction of the wild type mtrA gene into the S. erythraea E3 strain with the mtrAdel gene decreased the erythromycin yield by approximately 50%, confirming that MtrA repressed erythromycin production. These findings demonstrate that MtrA is an important pleiotropic regulator of erythromycin biosynthesis, antibiotic resistance, osmoprotection, and substance transport in S. erythraea and provide new insights for improving erythromycin production. Future studies linking the molecular effects of MtrA to these phenotypes will improve our understanding of the MtrA-MtrB two-component regulatory system in Actinobacteria.


MtrA-MtrB Two-component regulatory system Erythromycin biosynthesis Antibiotic resistance 


Funding information

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31730004 and 21575089).

Compliance with ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

253_2019_9825_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (665 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 665 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lab of Biosystems and Microanalysis, State Key Laboratory of Bioreactor EngineeringEast China University of Science and TechnologyShanghaiChina
  2. 2.School of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringShihezi UniversityXinjiangChina

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