On solid media, the reproductive growth of Streptomyces involves antibiotic biosynthesis coincident with the erection of filamentous aerial hyphae. Following cessation of growth of an aerial hypha, multiple septation occurs at the tip to form a chain of unigenomic spores. A gene, crgA, that coordinates several aspects of this reproductive growth is described. The gene product is representative of a well-conserved family of small actinomycete proteins with two C-terminal hydrophobic-potential membrane-spanning segments. In Streptomyces avermitilis, crgA is required for sporulation, and inactivation of the gene abolished most sporulation septation in aerial hyphae. Disruption of the orthologous gene in Streptomyces coelicolor indicates that whereas CrgA is not essential for sporulation in this species, during growth on glucose-containing media, it influences the timing of the onset of reproductive growth, with precocious erection of aerial hyphae and antibiotic production by the mutant. Moreover, CrgA subsequently acts to inhibit sporulation septation prior to growth arrest of aerial hyphae. Overexpression of CrgA in S. coelicolor, uncoupling any nutritional and growth phase-dependent regulation, results in growth of nonseptated aerial hyphae on all media tested, consistent with a role for the protein in inhibiting sporulation septation.
- actinomycete-specific proteins