Published on May 1, 2007 in J Bacteriol volume 189.
PubMed ID: 17384192
Certain str mutations that confer high- or low-level streptomycin resistance result in the overproduction of antibiotics by Streptomyces spp. The str mutations that confer the high-level resistance occur within rpsL, which encodes the ribosomal protein S12, while those that cause low-level resistance are not as well known. We have used comparative genome sequencing to determine that low-level resistance is caused by mutations of rsmG, which encodes an S-adenosylmethionine (SAM)-dependent 16S rRNA methyltransferase containing a SAM binding motif. Deletion of rsmG from wild-type Streptomyces coelicolor resulted in the acquisition of streptomycin resistance and the overproduction of the antibiotic actinorhodin. Introduction of wild-type rsmG into the deletion mutant completely abrogated the effects of the rsmG deletion, confirming that rsmG mutation underlies the observed phenotype. Consistent with earlier work using a spontaneous rsmG mutant, the strain carrying DeltarsmG exhibited increased SAM synthetase activity, which mediated the overproduction of antibiotic. Moreover, high-performance liquid chromatography analysis showed that the DeltarsmG mutant lacked a 7-methylguanosine modification in the 16S rRNA (possibly at position G518, which corresponds to G527 of Escherichia coli). Like certain rpsL mutants, the DeltarsmG mutant exhibited enhanced protein synthetic activity during the late growth phase. Unlike rpsL mutants, however, the DeltarsmG mutant showed neither greater stability of the 70S ribosomal complex nor increased expression of ribosome recycling factor, suggesting that the mechanism underlying increased protein synthesis differs in the rsmG and the rpsL mutants. Finally, spontaneous rsmG mutations arose at a 1,000-fold-higher frequency than rpsL mutations. These findings provide new insight into the role of rRNA modification in activating secondary metabolism in Streptomyces.