Old meets new: Using interspecies interactions to detect secondary metabolite production in actinomycetes

Mohammad R. Seyedsayamdost, Matthew F. Traxler, Jon Clardy, Roberto Kolter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

39 Scopus citations


Actinomycetes, a group of filamentous, Gram-positive bacteria, have long been a remarkable source of useful therapeutics. Recent genome sequencing and transcriptomic studies have shown that these bacteria, responsible for half of the clinically used antibiotics, also harbor a large reservoir of gene clusters, which have the potential to produce novel secreted small molecules. Yet, many of these clusters are not expressed under common culture conditions. One reason why these clusters have not been linked to a secreted small molecule lies in the way that actinomycetes have typically been studied: as pure cultures in nutrient-rich media that do not mimic the complex environments in which these bacteria evolved. New methods based on multispecies culture conditions provide an alternative approach to investigating the products of these gene clusters. We have recently implemented binary interspecies interaction assays to mine for new secondary metabolites and to study the underlying biology of interactinomycete interactions. Here, we describe the detailed biological and chemical methods comprising these studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNatural Product Biosynthesis by Microorganisms and Plants, Part C
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780124046344
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameMethods in Enzymology
ISSN (Print)0076-6879
ISSN (Electronic)1557-7988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry


  • Amychelin
  • Amycolatopsis sp. AA4
  • Interspecies interactions
  • Secondary metabolites
  • Streptomyces coelicolor


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