Controlling Antibiotic Production: Regulation of Secondary Metabolism in Streptomyces

Summer 2018

Yein Ra : Microbial Biology, MCB

Mentor: Matthew Traxler

The study of members of the bacterial genus Streptomyces is motivated by their impressive capacity to produce clinically-applicable secondary metabolites, including antibiotics and anti-tumor compounds. It has been widely observed that the production of these secondary metabolites and natural products by Streptomyces species can be increased when in the presence of other bacterial species. However, the factors that control secondary metabolism and its induction by interspecies interactions are still not fully understood. Through my research project, I will study a potential mechanism of secondary metabolism regulation in the model organism, Streptomyces coelicolor, particularly when in interactions with Amycolatopsis sp. AA4. Specifically, I will be exploring the role of proteins encoded by an operon conserved in Streptomyces species – CvnA8, CvnB8, CvnC8, CvnD8, and Sco6939 – that may potentially take part in a novel signal transduction pathway. My study will focus on CvnD8, a small Ras-like GTPase, and how this enzyme influence patterns of antibiotic production in Streptomyces. 

The SURF program gave me the opportunity give my undivided attention to science. The progress I've made to my research has been substantial, and I was happy to share my experience with my fellow SURF participants. This program has done much towards my development as a scientist, and I thank the Rose Hills Foundation for making this summer possible.