Iranian Journal of Microbiology 2018. 10(2):132-142.

Culturable rare actinomycetes from Indian forest soils: Molecular and physicochemical screening for biosynthetic genes
Sunita Bundale, Jaya Singh, Deovrat Begde, Nandita Nashikkar, Avinash Upadhyay


Background and Objectives: Rare actinomycetes are a promising source of novel metabolites of pharmaceutical importance. The current study focussed on selective isolation of specific genera of rare actinomycetes and screening the isolates for biosynthetic genes particularly polyketide synthases (PKS) and non ribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS).

Materials and Methods: The soil samples were subjected to various pre-treatments like 1.5% phenol treatment, 0.3% chloramine T treatment, benzethonium chloride treatment, etc. and plated on selective media supplemented with specific antibiotics targeting rare genera of actinomycetes. The putative rare actinomycete isolates were screened for bioactivity using agar cross streak method and agar well diffusion method. The ability of the isolates to produce anti-quorum sensing compounds was tested against Serratia marcescens. The isolates were also screened for the presence of biosynthetic gene clusters associated with PKS-I, PKS-II and NRPS pathways using the degenerate primer sets K1F-M6R, KSα/KSβ and A3F-A7R, respectively. The expression of these gene clusters was tracked by physicochemical screening of the extracts of isolates using spectroscopic and chromatographic techniques.

Results: In this study, 1.5% phenol treatment was found to be the most promising followed by heat treatment and chloramine treatment. Our studies showed that ISP5 agar was the best for isolation of rare genera followed by ISP7, Starch Caesin agar and ISP2 supplemented with antibiotics like gentamicin, nalidixic acid and streptomycin. Micromonospora was the most abundant genus followed by Dactylosporangium. Actinomadura, Nocardiopsis and Actinoplanes were almost equal in number. Primary screening showed that 92% of the isolates were active against one of the test organisms. Thirty seven isolates were found to produce anti-quorum sensing (QS) compounds. NRPS sequences were detected in thirty nine isolates (42.8%), whereas PKS-I and PKS-II sequences were detected in seventeen and twenty eight strains (18.6% and 30.7%), respectively.

Conclusion: Nine type I and type II polyketide-producing isolates as well as six peptide-producing isolates were found. The peptide extract of isolate KCR3 and a polyketide extract of isolate NCD10 were found to possess anti-tumor activity exhibiting an IC50 value of 3 μg/ml and 2.5 μg/ml against HeLa cells.



Rare actinomycetes, Polyketide synthases, Non ribosomal peptide synthetases

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