Identification and cloning of genes encoding viomycin biosynthesis from Streptomyces vinaceus and evidence for involvement of a rare oxygenase

Xihou Yin, Thomas O'Hare, Steven J. Gould, Mark Zabriskie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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The tuberactinomycins are a family of basic cyclic peptides that exhibit potent antitubercular activity. These peptides are characterized by the presence of an amino acid with a 6-membered cyclic guanidine side chain (capreomycidine) and two or more 2,3-diaminopropionate residues. Viomycin (tuberactinomycin B) is a well-studied member of the family, was once prescribed for the treatment of tuberculosis, and has been shown to block translocation during protein biosynthesis. The gene cluster encoding viomycin biosynthesis was identified and cloned from Streptomyces vinaceus. The cluster was identified by screening genomic libraries with the viomycin phosphotransferase self-resistance gene (vph) and non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) gene probes amplified from S. vinaceus genomic DNA. The viomycin cluster was localized to ca. 120 kb of contiguous DNA defined by four overlapping cosmid inserts. Each cosmid hybridized with one or more peptide synthetase gene probes and two also hybridized with vph. Confirmation that the cluster encoded viomycin biosynthesis was obtained from the disruption of two NRPS adenylation domains. Partial sequence analysis revealed an ORF (svox) predicted to encode a rare non-heme iron, α-ketoglutarate dependent oxygenase proposed to function in the oxidative cyclization of arginine to the capreomycidine residue. Insertional disruption of svox resulted in complete loss of viomycin production, confirming its involvement in the pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 17 2003
Externally publishedYes



  • β-lysine
  • 2,3-diaminopropionate
  • Antitubercular peptide
  • Capreomycidine
  • Tuberactinomycin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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