2-Alkyl-4-hydroxymethylfuran-3-carboxylic acids, antibiotic production inducers discovered by Streptomyces coelicolor genome mining

Christophe Corre, Lijiang Song, Sean O'Rourke, Keith F. Chater, Gregory L. Challis

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106 Citations (Scopus)


All of the genetic elements necessary for the production of the antibiotic methylenomycin (Mm) and its regulation are contained within the 22-kb mmy-mmf gene cluster, which is located on the 356-kb linear plasmid SCP1 of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2). A putative operon of 3 genes within this gene cluster, mmfLHP, was proposed to direct the biosynthesis of an A-factor-like signaling molecule, which could play a role in the regulation of Mm biosynthesis. The mmfLHP operon was expressed under the control of its native promoter in S. coelicolor M512, a host lacking the SCP1 plasmid, and the ability to produce prodiginine and actinorhodin antibiotics. Comparative metabolic profiling led to the identification and structure elucidation of a family of 5 new 2-alkyl-4-hydroxymethylfuran-3-carboxylic acids (AHFCAs), collectively termed Mm furans (MMFs), as the products of the mmfLHP genes. MMFs specifically induce the production of the Mm antibiotics in S. coelicolor. Comparative genomics analyses and searches of the natural product chemistry literature indicated that other streptomycetes may produce AHFCAs, suggesting that they could form a general class of antibiotic biosynthesis inducers in Streptomyces species, with analogous functions to the better known γ-butyrolactone regulatory molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17510-17515
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • γ-butyrolactone
  • Autoregulator
  • Biosynthesis
  • Methylenomycin
  • Quorum sensing

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