Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Research Notes and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Characterisation of a natural variant of the γ-butyrolactone signalling receptor

Marco Gottelt12, Andrew Hesketh34, Robert Bunet5, Pranav Puri16 and Eriko Takano1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbial Physiology, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 7, 9747 AG, Groningen, The Netherlands

2 Present address: Life Technologies, Frankfurter Str. 129b, 64293, Darmstadt, Germany

3 Department of Molecular Microbiology, John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK

4 Present address: Department of Biochemistry, New Building (Sanger), 80 Tennis Court Road, Old Addenbrooke's Site, Cambridge, CB2 1GA, UK

5 Present address: Équipe de Biologie Moléculaire Marine - PROTEE, Université du Sud Toulon-Var, BP 20132, Avenue de l'Université, 83957, La Garde Cedex, France

6 Present address: Department of Enzymology, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG, Groningen, The Netherlands

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:379  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-379

Published: 27 July 2012



The control of antibiotic production in Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) involves complicated regulatory networks with multiple regulators controlling the expression of antibiotic biosynthetic pathways. One such regulatory network is that of the γ-butyrolactones, the so-called S. coelicolor butanolide (SCB) system. The γ-butyrolactones in this system serve as signalling molecules and bind to the receptor protein ScbR, releasing the repression of its target genes. The resulting expression changes affect the production of the two pigmented antibiotics Act and Red, as well as the transcription of the cpk antibiotic biosynthesis gene cluster and the synthesis of the γ-butyrolactones themselves.


We identified a natural variant of ScbR in S. coelicolor (ScbRM600) that differs from ScbR in the genome-sequenced strain M145 (ScbRM145) by a single amino acid change, R120S. ScbRM600 is impaired in its DNA binding ability and alters the expression of the pathway-specific regulatory genes of the red and cpk antibiotic biosynthesis gene clusters. Also, expression of the γ-butyrolactone biosynthesis gene scbA and production of the signalling molecules is slightly reduced.


The γ-butyrolactone receptor, ScbR, plays a key role in the SCB regulatory cascade and in determining the onset of the expression of the antibiotic regulatory genes.

Gamma-butyrolactone receptor; Gene regulation; Antibiotic production; Streptomyces; ScbR; M600