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Gallagher, KA, Rauscher K, Ioca LP, Jensen PR.  2013.  Phylogenetic and chemical diversity of a hybrid-isoprenoid producing streptomycete lineage. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 79:6894-6902.   10.1128/aem.01814-13   AbstractWebsite

Streptomyces species dedicate a large portion of their genomes to secondary metabolite biosynthesis. A diverse and largely marine-derived lineage within this genus has been designated MAR4 and identified as a prolific source of hybrid isoprenoid (HI) secondary metabolites. These terpenoid-containing compounds are common in nature but rarely observed as bacterial secondary metabolites. To assess the phylogenetic diversity of the MAR4 lineage, complementary culture-based and culture-independent techniques were applied to marine sediment samples collected off the Channel Islands, CA. The results, including those from an analysis of publically available sequence data and strains isolated as part of prior studies, placed 40 new strains in the MAR4 clade, of which 32 originated from marine sources. When combined with sequences cloned from environmental DNA, 28 MAR4 operational taxonomic units (0.01% genetic distance) were identified. Of these, 82% consisted exclusively of either cloned sequences or cultured strains, supporting the complementarity of these two approaches. Chemical analyses of diverse MAR4 strains revealed the production of five different HI structure classes. All 21 MAR4 strains tested produced at least one HI class, with most strains producing from two to four classes. The two major clades within the MAR4 lineage displayed distinct patterns in the structural classes and the number and amount of HIs produced, suggesting a relationship between taxonomy and secondary metabolite production. The production of HI secondary metabolites appears to be a phenotypic trait of the MAR4 lineage, which represents an emerging model with which to study the ecology and evolution of HI biosynthesis.

Gallagher, KA, Fenical W, Jensen PR.  2010.  Hybrid isoprenoid secondary metabolite production in terrestrial and marine actinomycetes. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 21:794-800.   10.1016/j.copbio.2010.09.010   AbstractWebsite

Terpenoids are among the most ubiquitous and diverse secondary metabolites observed in nature. Although actinomycete bacteria are one of the primary sources of microbially derived secondary metabolites, they rarely produce compounds in this biosynthetic class. The terpenoid secondary metabolites that have been discovered from actinomycetes are often in the form of biosynthetic hybrids called hybrid isoprenoids (His). His include significant structural diversity and biological activity and thus are important targets for natural product discovery. Recent screening of marine actinomycetes has led to the discovery of a new lineage that is enriched in the production of biologically active HI secondary metabolites. These strains represent a promising resource for natural product discovery and provide unique opportunities to study the evolutionary history and ecological functions of an unusual group of secondary metabolites.

Gallagher, KA, Jensen PR.  2015.  Genomic insights into the evolution of hybrid isoprenoid biosynthetic gene clusters in the MAR4 marine streptomycete clade. Bmc Genomics. 16   10.1186/s12864-015-2110-3   AbstractWebsite

Background: Considerable advances have been made in our understanding of the molecular genetics of secondary metabolite biosynthesis. Coupled with increased access to genome sequence data, new insight can be gained into the diversity and distributions of secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters and the evolutionary processes that generate them. Here we examine the distribution of gene clusters predicted to encode the biosynthesis of a structurally diverse class of molecules called hybrid isoprenoids (HIs) in the genus Streptomyces. These compounds are derived from a mixed biosynthetic origin that is characterized by the incorporation of a terpene moiety onto a variety of chemical scaffolds and include many potent antibiotic and cytotoxic agents. Results: One hundred and twenty Streptomyces genomes were searched for HI biosynthetic gene clusters using ABBA prenyltransferases (PTases) as queries. These enzymes are responsible for a key step in HI biosynthesis. The strains included 12 that belong to the 'MAR4' clade, a largely marine-derived lineage linked to the production of diverse HI secondary metabolites. We found ABBA PTase homologs in all of the MAR4 genomes, which averaged five copies per strain, compared with 21 % of the non-MAR4 genomes, which averaged one copy per strain. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that MAR4 PTase diversity has arisen by a combination of horizontal gene transfer and gene duplication. Furthermore, there is evidence that HI gene cluster diversity is generated by the horizontal exchange of orthologous PTases among clusters. Many putative HI gene clusters have not been linked to their secondary metabolic products, suggesting that MAR4 strains will yield additional new compounds in this structure class. Finally, we confirm that the mevalonate pathway is not always present in genomes that contain HI gene clusters and thus is not a reliable query for identifying strains with the potential to produce HI secondary metabolites. Conclusions: We found that marine-derived MAR4 streptomycetes possess a relatively high genetic potential for HI biosynthesis. The combination of horizontal gene transfer, duplication, and rearrangement indicate that complex evolutionary processes account for the high level of HI gene cluster diversity in these bacteria, the products of which may provide a yet to be defined adaptation to the marine environment.

Gallagher, KA, Wanger G, Henderson J, Llorente M, Hughes CC, Jensen PR.  2017.  Ecological implications of hypoxia-triggered shifts in secondary metabolism. Environmental Microbiology. 19:2182-2191.   10.1111/1462-2920.13700   AbstractWebsite

Members of the actinomycete genus Streptomyces are non-motile, filamentous bacteria that are well-known for the production of biomedically relevant secondary metabolites. While considered obligate aerobes, little is known about how these bacteria respond to periods of reduced oxygen availability in their natural habitats, which include soils and ocean sediments. Here, we provide evidence that the marine streptomycete strain CNQ-525 can reduce MnO2 via a diffusible mechanism. We investigated the effects of hypoxia on secondary metabolite production and observed a shift away from the antibiotic napyradiomycin towards 8-aminoflaviolin, an intermediate in the napyradiomycin biosynthetic pathway. We purified 8-amino-flaviolin and demonstrated that it is reversibly redox-active (midpoint potential -474.5 mV), indicating that it has the potential to function as an endogenous extracellular electron shuttle. This study provides evidence that environmentally triggered changes in secondary metabolite production may provide clues to the ecological functions of specific compounds, and that Gram-positive bacteria considered to be obligate aerobes may play previously unrecognized roles in biogeochemical cycling through mechanisms that include extracellular electron shuttling.

Garo, E, Starks CM, Jensen PR, Fenical W, Lobkovsky E, Clardy J.  2003.  Trichodermamides A and B, cytotoxic modified Dipeptides from the marine-derived fungus Trichoderma virens. Journal of Natural Products. 66:423-426.   10.1021/np0204390   AbstractWebsite

Trichodermamides A (1) and B (2), two modified dipeptides, have been isolated from cultures of the marine-derived fungus Trichoderma virens. The trichodermamides possess a rare cyclic O-alkyl-oxime functionality incorporated into a six-membered ring. The structure of trichodermamide B was established by X-ray diffraction analysis, while the structure assignment of trichodermamide A, and determination of the absolute stereochemistry, was accomplished by spectral and chemical methods. Trichodermamide B displayed significant in vitro cytotoxicity against HCT-116 human colon carcinoma with an IC50 of 0.32 mug/mL.

Gontang, EA, Gaudencio SP, Fenical W, Jensen PR.  2010.  Sequence-Based Analysis of Secondary-Metabolite Biosynthesis in Marine Actinobacteria. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 76:2487-2499.   10.1128/aem.02852-09   AbstractWebsite

A diverse collection of 60 marine-sediment-derived Actinobacteria representing 52 operational taxonomic units was screened by PCR for genes associated with secondary-metabolite biosynthesis. Three primer sets were employed to specifically target adenylation domains associated with nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) and ketosynthase (KS) domains associated with type I modular, iterative, hybrid, and enediyne polyketide synthases (PKSs). In total, two-thirds of the strains yielded a sequence-verified PCR product for at least one of these biosynthetic types. Genes associated with enediyne biosynthesis were detected in only two genera, while 88% of the ketosynthase sequences shared greatest homology with modular PKSs. Positive strains included representatives of families not traditionally associated with secondary-metabolite production, including the Corynebacteriaceae, Gordoniaceae, Intrasporangiaceae, and Micrococcaceae. In four of five cases where phylogenetic analyses of KS sequences revealed close evolutionary relationships to genes associated with experimentally characterized biosynthetic pathways, secondary-metabolite production was accurately predicted. Sequence clustering patterns were used to provide an estimate of PKS pathway diversity and to assess the biosynthetic richness of individual strains. The detection of highly similar KS sequences in distantly related strains provided evidence of horizontal gene transfer, while control experiments designed to amplify KS sequences from Salinispora arenicola strain CNS-205, for which a genome sequence is available, led to the detection of 70% of the targeted PKS pathways. The results provide a bioinformatic assessment of secondary-metabolite biosynthetic potential that can be applied in the absence of fully assembled pathways or genome sequences. The rapid identification of strains that possess the greatest potential to produce new secondary metabolites along with those that produce known compounds can be used to improve the process of natural-product discovery by providing a method to prioritize strains for fermentation studies and chemical analysis.

Gontang, EA, Fenical W, Jensen PR.  2007.  Phylogenetic diversity of gram-positive bacteria cultured from marine sediments. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 73:3272-3282.   10.1128/aem.02811-06   AbstractWebsite

Major advances in our understanding of marine bacterial diversity have been gained through studies of bacterioplankton, the vast majority of which appear to be gram negative. Less effort has been devoted to studies of bacteria inhabiting marine sediments, yet there is evidence to suggest that gram-positive bacteria comprise a relatively large proportion of these communities. To further expand our understanding of the aerobic gram-positive bacteria present in tropical marine sediments, a culture-dependent approach was applied to sediments collected in the Republic of Palau from the intertidal zone to depths of 500 m. This investigation resulted in the isolation of 1,624 diverse gram-positive bacteria spanning 22 families, including many that appear to represent new taxa. Phylogenetic analysis of 189 representative isolates, based on 16S rRNA gene sequence data, indicated that 124 (65.6%) belonged to the class Actinobacteria while the remaining 65 (34.4%) were members of the class Bacilli. Using a sequence identity value of >= 98%, the 189 isolates grouped into 78 operational taxonomic units, of which 29 (37.2%) are likely to represent new taxa. The high degree of phylogenetic novelty observed during this study highlights the fact that a great deal remains to be learned about the diversity of gram-positive bacteria in marine sediments.

Gonzalez, DJ, Xu YQ, Yang YL, Esquenazi E, Liu WT, Edlund A, Duong T, Du LC, Molnar I, Gerwick WH, Jensen PR, Fischbach M, Liaw CC, Straight P, Nizet V, Dorrestein PC.  2012.  Observing the invisible through imaging mass spectrometry, a window into the metabolic exchange patterns of microbes. Journal of Proteomics. 75:5069-5076.   10.1016/j.jprot.2012.05.036   AbstractWebsite

Many microbes can be cultured as single-species communities. Often, these colonies are controlled and maintained via the secretion of metabolites. Such metabolites have been an invaluable resource for the discovery of therapeutics (e.g. penicillin, taxol, rapamycin, epothilone). In this article, written for a special issue on imaging mass spectrometry, we show that MALDI-imaging mass spectrometry can be adapted to observe, in a spatial manner, the metabolic exchange patterns of a diverse array of microbes, including thermophilic and mesophilic fungi, cyanobacteria, marine and terrestrial actinobacteria, and pathogenic bacteria. Dependent on media conditions, on average and based on manual analysis, we observed 11.3 molecules associated with each microbial IMS experiment, which was split nearly 50:50 between secreted and colony-associated molecules. The spatial distributions of these metabolic exchange factors are related to the biological and ecological functions of the organisms. This work establishes that MALDI-based IMS can be used as a general tool to study a diverse array of microbes. Furthermore the article forwards the notion of the IMS platform as a window to discover previously unreported molecules by monitoring the metabolic exchange patterns of organisms when grown on agar substrates. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Imaging Mass Spectrometry: A User's Guide to a New Technique for Biological and Biomedical Research. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Gu, W, Cueto M, Jensen PR, Fenical W, Silverman RB.  2007.  Microsporins A and B: new histone deacetylase inhibitors from the marine-derived fungus Microsporum cf. gypseum and the solid-phase synthesis of microsporin A. Tetrahedron. 63:6535-6541.   10.1016/j.tet.2007.04.025   AbstractWebsite

Two new cyclic peptides, microsporins A and B (7 and 8), were isolated from culture extracts of the marine-derived fungus Microsporum cf. gypseum obtained from a sample of the bryozoan Bugula sp. collected in the U. S. Virgin Islands. The structures of the new compounds were determined by extensive interpretation of 2D NMR data and by chemical methods. Microsporins A and B are potent inhibitors of histone deacetylase and demonstrate cytotoxic activity against human colon adenocarcinoma (HCT-116), as well as against the National Cancer Institute 60 cancer cell panel. The total synthesis of microsporin A on solid-phase is also reported. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.