Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nitrogen-fixing bacterial symbiont promises trove of natural products

Date:
June 17, 2011
Source:
American Society for Microbiology
Summary:
Soil-dwelling bacteria of the genus Frankia have the potential to produce a multitude of natural products, including antibiotics, herbicides, pigments, anticancer agents, and other useful products, according to new research.

Soil-dwelling bacteria of the genus Frankia have the potential to produce a multitude of natural products, including antibiotics, herbicides, pigments, anticancer agents, and other useful products, according to Bradley S. Moore of the Scripps Oceanographic Institute, La Jolla, and his collaborators in an article in the June 2011 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

The researchers found genetic structures in this bacterium that resemble those of various valuable natural product categories through bioinformatics and genome mining. "This tremendous biosynthetic capacity is reminiscent of many industrially important bacteria such as those belonging to the genus, Streptomyces that produce the majority of the natural antibiotics used as drugs," says Moore.

"To see this capacity in a well-known microbe not previously exploited for its chemical richness was very rewarding from both an applied and basic science point of view," says Moore. Frankia are nitrogen-fixing bacteria that live in symbiosis with actinorhizal plants (whose ranks include beech and cherry trees, and various gourd-producing plants). "Since the vast majority of the deduced [biosynthetic] pathways are unique to Frankia, it suggests that they employ a very complex and specialized communication with their plant host to establish and maintain their symbiosis. So lots to discover there."

Frankia have not previously been exploited partly because these bacteria are difficult to grow in the lab. But new genetic methods make it easier to transplant genes for promising natural products from Frankia into "more user-friendly host bacteria for production," says Moore.

Moreover, genome mining, a recent technique that involves searching for genetic sequences, was critical to the results, and "complementary to the far more laborious traditional natural product drug discovery that has gone unchanged for decades," says Moore. A greater understanding of how complex organic molecules are synthesized in nature laid additional groundwork for this, and for "a new revolution in the discovery of natural chemicals that will fuel new research into what functions these chemicals play in nature, and how they can be used to benefit society," says Moore.

The project grew out of a graduate class that Moore and Daniel Udwary (then his post-doc, now at the University of Rhode Island) taught on "Microbial Genome Mining," says Moore. Each student in the class researched a group of biosynthetic gene clusters that Moore and Udwary preselected. The students -- who are the majority of coauthors on the paper -- annotated their genes and based on biosynthetic principles, and predicted pathways leading to putative natural products. They then worked with the laboratories of Pieter Dorrestein at the University of California, San Diego (a mass spec specialist) and Lou Tisa at the University of New Hampshire (a Frankia biologist) to conduct preliminary proteomic and metabolomic analyses to probe whether the predicted pathways were operative, and whether small molecule chemistry was evident.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. W. Udwary, E. A. Gontang, A. C. Jones, C. S. Jones, A. W. Schultz, J. M. Winter, J. Y. Yang, N. Beauchemin, T. L. Capson, B. R. Clark, E. Esquenazi, A. S. Eustaquio, K. Freel, L. Gerwick, W. H. Gerwick, D. Gonzalez, W.-T. Liu, K. L. Malloy, K. N. Maloney, M. Nett, J. K. Nunnery, K. Penn, A. Prieto-Davo, T. L. Simmons, S. Weitz, M. C. Wilson, L. S. Tisa, P. C. Dorrestein, B. S. Moore. Significant Natural Product Biosynthetic Potential of Actinorhizal Symbionts of the Genus Frankia, as Revealed by Comparative Genomic and Proteomic Analyses. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2011; 77 (11): 3617 DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00038-11

Cite This Page:

American Society for Microbiology. "Nitrogen-fixing bacterial symbiont promises trove of natural products." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110617185023.htm>.
American Society for Microbiology. (2011, June 17). Nitrogen-fixing bacterial symbiont promises trove of natural products. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110617185023.htm
American Society for Microbiology. "Nitrogen-fixing bacterial symbiont promises trove of natural products." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110617185023.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins