Gamma-butyrolactones (GBLs) produced by several Streptomyces species have been shown to serve as quorum-sensing signaling molecules for activating antibiotic production. The GBL system of Streptomyces chattanoogensis L10, a producer of antifungal agent natamycin, consists of three genes: scgA, scgX, and scgR. Both scgA and scgX contribute to GBL production, while scgR encodes a GBL receptor. ΔscgA and ΔscgX mutants of S. chattanoogensis behaved identically: they had a growth defect in submerged cultures and delayed or abolished the morphological differentiation and secondary metabolites production on solid medium. ScgR could bind to the promoter region of scgA and repress its transcription. Moreover, scgA seems also to be controlled by a GBL-mediated negative-feedback system. Hence, it is apparent that GBL biosynthesis is tightly controlled to ensure the correct timing for metabolic switch. An additional direct ScgR-target gene gbdA was identified by genomic SELEX and transcriptional analysis. Comparative proteomic analysis between L10 and its ΔscgA mutant revealed that the GBL system affects the expression of more than 50 proteins, including enzymes involved in carbon uptake system, primary metabolism, and stress response, we thus conclude that scgR-scgA-scgX constitute a novel GBL regulatory system involved in nutrient utilization, triggering adaptive responses, and finally dictating the switch from primary to secondary metabolism.
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