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Open Access Research article

Gene cluster analysis for the biosynthesis of elgicins, novel lantibiotics produced by paenibacillus elgii B69

Yi Teng, Wenpeng Zhao, Chaodong Qian, Ou Li, Liang Zhu and Xuechang Wu*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Microbiology, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, 866 Yuhangtang Road, Hangzhou 310058, P. R. China

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BMC Microbiology 2012, 12:45  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-45

Published: 26 March 2012

Abstract

Background

The recent increase in bacterial resistance to antibiotics has promoted the exploration of novel antibacterial materials. As a result, many researchers are undertaking work to identify new lantibiotics because of their potent antimicrobial activities. The objective of this study was to provide details of a lantibiotic-like gene cluster in Paenibacillus elgii B69 and to produce the antibacterial substances coded by this gene cluster based on culture screening.

Results

Analysis of the P. elgii B69 genome sequence revealed the presence of a lantibiotic-like gene cluster composed of five open reading frames (elgT1, elgC, elgT2, elgB, and elgA). Screening of culture extracts for active substances possessing the predicted properties of the encoded product led to the isolation of four novel peptides (elgicins AI, AII, B, and C) with a broad inhibitory spectrum. The molecular weights of these peptides were 4536, 4593, 4706, and 4820 Da, respectively. The N-terminal sequence of elgicin B was Leu-Gly-Asp-Tyr, which corresponded to the partial sequence of the peptide ElgA encoded by elgA. Edman degradation suggested that the product elgicin B is derived from ElgA. By correlating the results of electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry analyses of elgicins AI, AII, and C, these peptides are deduced to have originated from the same precursor, ElgA.

Conclusions

A novel lantibiotic-like gene cluster was shown to be present in P. elgii B69. Four new lantibiotics with a broad inhibitory spectrum were isolated, and these appear to be promising antibacterial agents.