Quorum regulation of biosynthesis of polyketide antibiotic, mupirocin, in Pseudomonas fluorescens NC1B10586

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Mupirocin (pseudomonic acid) is a polyketide antibiotic, targeting isoleucyl-tRNA synthase, and produced by Pseudomonas fluorescens NCIMB 10586. It is used clinically as a topical treatment for staphylococcal infections, particularly in contexts where there is a problem with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In studying the mupirocin biosynthetic cluster the authors identified two putative regulatory genes, mupR and mupI, whose predicted amino acid sequences showed significant identity to proteins involved in quorum-sensing-dependent regulatory systems such as LasR/LuxR (transcriptional activators) and LasI/LuxI (synthases for N-acythomoserine lactones - AHLs - that activate LasR/LuxR). Inactivation by deletion mutations using a suicide vector strategy confirmed the requirement for both genes in mupirocin biosynthesis. Cross-feeding experiments between bacterial strains as well as solvent extraction showed that, as predicted, wild-type P. fluorescens NCIMB 10586 produces a diffusible substance that overcomes the defect of a mupI mutant. Use of biosensor strains showed that the MupI product can activate the Pseudomonas aeruginosa lasRIasI system and that P. aeruginosa produces one or more compounds that can replace the MupI product. Insertion of a xyIE reporter gene into mupA, the first ORF of the mupirocin biosynthetic operon, showed that together mupR/mupI control expression of the operon in such a way that the cluster is switched on late in exponential phase and in stationary phase.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2127-2139
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • genetic manipulation
  • reporter genes
  • diffusible activator
  • N-acylhomoserine lactone
  • Staphylococcus aureus


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