Unlocking cryptic genes with a tRNA molecule

bldAThe majority of biosynthetic genes are not expressed in a given Streptomcyes strain, which can thwart the discovery of the encoded molecule. There are many factors that can cause such genes to be in a ‘cryptic’ state. We hypothesized that TTA codons, which tend to concentrate in biosynthetic genes, might be one such factor. In collaboration with the Bechthold lab we demonstrate that by providing a steady supply of the requisite tRNA molecule, encoded by the bldA gene, cryptic genes were activated and new compounds were produced by a variety of Streptomyces. Added bonus: the production of known compounds could also be enhanced in some cases. Now in press in ChemBioChem.

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