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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Discovery of a new source of rifamycin antibiotics in marine sponge actinobacteria by phylogenetic prediction.

Phylogenetic analysis of the ketosynthase ( KS) gene sequences of marine sponge-derived Salinispora strains of actinobacteria indicated that the polyketide synthase (PKS) gene sequence most closely related to that of Salinispora was the rifamycin B synthase of Amycolatopsis mediterranei. This result was not expected from taxonomic species tree phylogenetics using 16S rRNA sequences. From the PKS sequence data generated from our sponge-derived Salinispora strains, we predicted that such strains might synthesize rifamycin-like compounds. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC/ MS/ MS) analysis was applied to one sponge-derived Salinispora strain to test the hypothesis of rifamycin synthesis. The analysis reported here demonstrates that this Salinispora isolate does produce compounds of the rifamycin class, including rifamycin B and rifamycin SV. A rifamycin-specific KS primer set was designed, and that primer set increased the number of rifamycin-positive strains detected by PCR screening relative to the number detectable using a conserved KS-specific set. Thus, the Salinispora group of actinobacteria represents a potential new source of rifamycins outside the genus Amycolatopsis and the first recorded source of rifamycins from marine bacteria.[1]


  1. Discovery of a new source of rifamycin antibiotics in marine sponge actinobacteria by phylogenetic prediction. Kim, T.K., Hewavitharana, A.K., Shaw, P.N., Fuerst, J.A. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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