Acharya, D., et al. Omics Technologies to Understand Activation of a Biosynthetic Gene Cluster in Micromonospora sp. WMMB235: Deciphering Keyicin Biosynthesis, ACS chemical biology. Volume 14, Number 6, 1260-1270
DNA sequencing of a large collection of bacterial genomes reveals a wealth of orphan biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) with no identifiable products. BGC silencing, for those orphan clusters that are truly silent, rather than those whose products have simply evaded detection and cluster correlation, is postulated to result from transcriptional inactivation of these clusters under standard laboratory conditions. Here, we employ a multi-omics approach to demonstrate how interspecies interactions modulate the keyicin producing kyc cluster at the transcriptome level in cocultures of kyc-bearing Micromonospora sp. and a Rhodococcus sp. We further correlate coculture dependent changes in keyicin production to changes in transcriptomic and proteomic profiles and show that these changes are attributable to small molecule signaling consistent with a quorum sensing pathway. In piecing together the various elements underlying keyicin production in coculture, this study highlights how omics technologies can expedite future efforts to understand and exploit silent BGCs.